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A FRAGMENT . . 156 


J. M. GRAY'S BOOK PLATE, . . . End of Book 


PROM The Edinburgh Oourant, 4TH APRIL 1885 

VOL. n. 


IN his new volumes Mr. Pater gives us the 
imaginary biography of Marius, an Italian 
youth living at the close of the second Christian 
century; and the book, while it includes in- 
cidentally many vivid and exquisite pictures 
of antiquity and its life, is mainly occupied 
with the ' sensations and ideas,' with the intel- 
lectual development, of the hero of the story. 

His early days are spent quietly with his 
widowed mother at a little villa or farm some 
few miles from Pisa, among the hills of Luna. 
Naturally of an earnest and devout disposition, 
he is much influenced and impressed by the 
old Roman religion, which forms a kind of 
atmosphere around him, and by the wise and 
solemn instructions of his mother ; ' a white 
bird,' she would tell him, looking at him 
gravely, ' a bird which he must carry in his 
bosom across a crowded public place his own 
soul was like that ! Would it reach the hands 


of his good genius on the opposite side, 
unruffled and unsoiled ? ' All through his life 
we feel the solemnising influences upon him 
of this early time. Like the speaker in Mr. 
Browning's ' Fears and Scruples ' 

' All his days he goes the softlier, sadlier, 
For that dream's sake ' 

and the impressions that were then received 
formed a restraining influence amid the freer 
practice of later years, ' kept him serious and 
dignified amid Epicurean speculations.' 

The second period of the life of Marius 
opens when, after the death of his mother, he 
proceeds to Pisa, to mix with fellow-scholars, 
and to imbibe the learning of the time. Here, 
especially through the influence of a young 
friend, Flavian, Marius is introduced into the 
world of letters. The reading of the Meta- 
morphoses of Apuleius forms an epoch in his 
mental history; he enters heartily into the 
schemes and efforts of his companion to mould 
the common Latin of the period into some 
true work of art, to use it with the utmost 
possible exquisiteness, making ' of it a serious 
study, weighing the precise power of every 
phrase and word as though it were precious 
metal, going back to the original and native 


sense of each, disentangling its later associa- 
tions, and restoring to full significance its 
worth of latent figurative expression, reviv- 
ing or replacing its outworn or tarnished 
images.' But soon Flavian dies. At the 
end of a long summer day, spent in verse- 
making, he is smitten by the plague, and 
passes away like a flower withered in the scorch- 
ing sunshine. Marius is overwhelmed by the 
loss, by the sad sense of finality conveyed 
by these white ashes of his friend which he 
has borne to burial ; and he turns with eager 
interest to the works of the philosophers, to 
find what comfort they can give him concern- 
ing this fleeting life of man. He studies 
Lucretius, Epicurus, Heraclitus, Aristippus of 
Gyrene ; and gradually he formulates his own 
accepted scheme of thought. Profoundly 
impressed by the perpetual, the resistless flux 
of things, must he not simply accept the pass- 
ing moments as they come, and strive to wring 
from each its utmost, its most refined product] 
Must he not believe - in ' life as the end of 
life'? ' If he could but count upon the present; 
if a life, brief at best, could not certainly be 
shown to lead anywhere beyond itself; if men's 
highest curiosity was indeed so persistently 


baffled then, with the Cyrenaics of all ages, 
he would at least fill up the measure of that 
present with vivid sensations, and those intel- 
lectual apprehensions, which, in strength and 
directness, and their immediately realised 
values at the bar of actual experience, are 
most like sensations.' So he diligently applies 
himself to purify and refine his spirit, to train 
himself in all high and selected ways, that he 
may be sensitive to the best things that each 
moment may bring; he grows marvellously 
skilful in what one has called ' the building 
houses of beautiful thought houses built 
without hands, for our souls to live in.' 

And now the scene again shifts, and Marius 
removes to Kome, to become a secretary to 
the Emperor Aurelius. With the keenest 
interest he enters on the life of the metropolis, 
paces its streets, watches the superb solemnities 
of its civic and religious processions. He is 
brought into intimate personal relations with 
the noble Stoic monarch ; he listens to the 
orations of Cornelius Fronto, sups with 
Apuleius, discourses with Lucian ; but, after 
all, the greatest and most determinative influ- 
ence of the time is his introduction to the 
Christian community in Rome. His friend 


Cornelius is a member of this community, 
and through him Marius obtains a glimpse at 
least of its domestic life, of its strange soul- 
stirring religious ceremonies, of its tombs 
inscribed with words of hope. Of all this 
the impressiveness to Marius is extreme ; 
here he finds a new beauty, even, given to 
human life, the signs visible and unmistakable 
that a quite new race of men had been born 
into the earth. They ' might have figured as 
the earliest handsel, or pattern, of a new world, 
from the very face of which discontent had 
passed away.' What a hope illuminated these 
people, lit up their very countenances, and 
grew audible in their songs ; what an outlook 
their faith gave them 'beyond the flaming 
ramparts of the world ' into a region of which 
his own philosophy had no word to say 

But of this community Marius never form- 
ally became a member, for his death was near. 
The persecutions against the Christians had 
blazed forth afresh; and, while returning 
from an absence from Rome, he is seized 
along with Cornelius, as one of the hated sect. 
By a final act of self-sacrifice which seems 
no orderly development and issue of his theory 
of things, but rather some sudden, irresistible 


stirring within him of the good natural man 
he procures the escape of his friend at his 
own imminent peril; and then, worn out by 
the fatigue and hardships of a forced journey, 
he dies at a country hamlet, esteemed as a 
martyr by the Christian villagers who tend 
his last moments, and comfort him with the 
rites of their Church. 

More confessedly and exclusively than most 
books of the kind, this is a philosophical novel. 
Yet it entirely escapes the besetting sin of 
dulness which so commonly attaches to this 
form of literature, and from which even its 
best known and most typical example, the 
great German one, is by no means wholly free. 
It is filled throughout with an exquisite sense 
of beauty, and its descriptions of landscape 
and of old Roman life are executed with the 
hand of a master. As examples of the former 
we may refer to the view in the neighbourhood 
of Rome given in Chapter xix., or to that 
other from the house of Cecilia in Chapter 
XXL ; while lovely instances of the latter 
will be found in the picture of the Ambar 
valm with which the book opens, and in the 
curiously contrasting chapters which describe 
the feast in honour of Apuleius, and the visit 


of Marius to the Christian tombs. Admirable 
versions, too, of various classical tales occur 
throughout the volumes, like ' The Story of 
Cupid and Psyche' and 'The Story of the 
Halcyon,' of which the one may be compared 
with the verse of Mr. Morris, and the other 
with the prose of Mr. Ruskin, in his ' Eagle's 

Regarding the style of the book, no words 
of praise seem excessive for its finish and pre- 
cision. It is written with singular quietude, 
with the most entire negation of the merely 
rhetorical ; but each word, each phrase, is 
selected with perfect judgment, is the fittest 
that could be found for the expression of the 
thought which it carries. Evidently this 
strange and beautiful book is one to whose 
production many hours of patient labour have 
been unsparingly given, and given wisely, 
for they have turned it into an exquisitely 
polished work of art. 



FROM The Magazine of Art, AUGUST 1886 


TflOLLOWING the excellent example of the 
' Old London Street ' in the International 
Exhibition of the metropolis, the directors of 
the Edinburgh Exhibition have added a very 
popular element to their display in a repro- 
duction of some of the most interesting and 
picturesque of the edifices that formerly 
graced their ' romantic town.' The designs to 
be adopted for this old Edinburgh Street were 
fixed upon by open competition ; and the 
choice fell upon those submitted by Mr. 
Sydney Mitchell, the young architect who 
executed for Mr. Gladstone that restoration of 
the ancient City Cross which he presented to 
Edinburgh. The selection has proved in 
every way a fortunate one. Mr. Mitchell has 
entered upon his work with both knowledge 
and sympathy, and has executed it with 
substantial correctness, and with taste as well. 
As we have indicated, we are presented 
with reproductions only of such buildings as 


are now among the things of the past, as have 
vanished before the invasion of modern utili- 
tarian improvement : surviving structures like 
Knox's House, Eamsay's Shop, and the thick- 
set square tower of St. Mary Magdalene's 
Chapel, with its quaint guild-hall beneath, in 
which the old Scottish painted glass rare, 
indeed, in this ultra-iconoclastic land is still in 
situ, are left to be discovered, in their very 
actuality, by the visitor. But in his re-creation 
of the past, Mr. Mitchell has been in posses- 
sion of unusually full and accurate material. 
Scotland has always been fortunate in the 
number and the enthusiasm of her antiquaries 
immortalised by Sir Walter in the person of 
one of the earlier and less critical of the 
fraternity. Among the artists, Turner, Na- 
smyth, Gibson, Ewbank, Lizars, Somerville, 
Drummond, Wilson, and quite recently Mrs. 
Stewart Smith and Mr. Le Conte, Mr. J. M. 
Bell, and Mr. F. W. Simon have recorded the 
historic stones of her capital, each in his own 
fashion now with the dry baldness of literal 
transcript, now tending towards poetic generali- 
sation and artistic subordination and adjust- 
ment of material ; while Daniel Wilson and 
Kobert Chambers have added such literary 


comment and description as leaves little to 
be desired. And, sad to say, in such of the 
most picturesque of his reproductions as 
Cardinal Beaton's House and the Bow-head 
Corner House, the architect might almost have 
trusted to his unaided recollection, for their 
originals have vanished from sight within the 
memory of quite junior citizens. 

Leaving the long glass-roofed central court 
of the Exhibition, passing its cases of pulpit- 
robes, and its Egyptian temple, curiously 
reared of patterned waxcloths, we make our 
bow to that crowning development of the 
Nineteenth Century a huge locomotive, 
polished and shining, spick and span as my 
lady's chamber, and enter through the Nether- 
Bow Port, upon the quaintness and the 
quietude of 'the antique world.' Here all 
is homely and 'careless-ordered,' with no 
undue formality or precision, no wearisome 
sameness. The gables and dormers ridge the 
sky with a fine irregularity ; timber is mingled 
with stone, and both with rough ' harled ' 
mortar ; windows are thrust out where windows 
are wanted ; when an ampler upper chamber 
is required it is simply projected beyond that 
beneath -use and not uniformity has guided 


the happy builders, whose vanished structures 
are here reproduced. In quite primitive 
fashion the kennel flows down the middle 
of the rough-paved street ; the mellow and 
varied colours of the building-stones have 
been admirably imitated; the tiles, among 
whose chinks mosses and lichens have been 
cunningly planted, and some of the blackened 
woodwork seem to be veritable antiques re- 
moved from dismantled houses; the doves 
that flutter overhead and nestle among the 
roofs tend to increase the air of verisimilitude ; 
mottoes, weighty with divine or mundane 
wisdom, are carved curiously above the door- 
ways ; and from twisted iron rods in front of 
the booths depend quaint sign-boards, not 
flaming with the full potency of heraldic 
' tinctures ' and ' metals,' like the shields upon 
the clock-tower of Lord Bute's mediaeval 
stronghold, which startle the stranger as he 
leaves the busy streets of stirring, modern 
Cardiff, but worn and wan of hue, subdued 
and tempered to their time-dimmed surround- 

A closer and continued inspection tends to 
dispel the illusion. The eye takes in the 
stream of muslin- or tweed-clad tourists, 


and perceives that the costume of the fair 
stall-keepers reproduces rather the court-dress 
of the Sixteenth Century than the garb of the 
humbler classes of that time ; while, for the 
most part, their merchandise is obtrusively 
modern in character; mackintosh-capes and 
indiarubber overshoes seem hardly in keeping 
with the tiled and timbered penthouse of an 
old Edinburgh 'booth.' In one stall, indeed, 
that occupied by Messrs. Ballantyne, Hanson, 
& Co., we have an interesting collection of 
examples of typography, from the Bible of 
Mentelin to the latest issues of Firmin Didot 
and Glady Freres, and curious specimens of 
types, matrices, composing-sticks, ball-stocks, 
and other adjuncts of the printing-office ; and 
here, too, an old wooden press, similar to that 
upon which the original edition of the Waverley 
Novels was printed, is at work throwing off 
copies of an excellent sketch of Sir Walter 
Scott's life, and a quaint little leaflet, dealing 
with the early Scottish printers, and illustrated 
with facsimiles of the woodcut devices that 
figured on their title-pages. 

There is one typical variety of old Edin- 
burgh handicraft which the jewellers' booths, 
of which there are several in the street, might 



have provided the silver ' Luckenbooth 
Brooches,' which at the beginning of the last 
century formed the customary betrothal gift 
among the humbler classes. Of these James 
Drummond has figured some interesting 
examples in his folio of Scottish arms and 
ornaments. They were shaped in the form of 
a heart, or of two interlacing hearts, more or 
less disguised and conventionalised, in de- 
corative fashion, and inscribed with double 
initials and the date, or with a homely 
distich : 

' Of earthly joys 
Thou art my choice ; ' 

or, sometimes, simply with the reference, 
'Kuth i. 16,' significant enough to the 
Scottish maiden of these days, carrying her 
thoughts at once to that tender old tale of love 
which vanquished fondest habitude. Re- 
productions of these betrothal gifts would 
have been thoroughly in keeping with the old- 
world casements of the booths, and might 
have been valued by visitors as a souvenir if 
only as a curious relic of a bygone time, in 
which faith and fidelity were both still possible. 
The Nether-Bow Port, through which we 
enter the Old Street, was the chief of the six 


main gates in the city wall the 'Flodden 
Wall/ which was erected for the protection of 
the capital after that most disastrous defeat of 
the Scots by their ' auld inymies of Ingland.' 
It formed the main approach from London, 
and also from the seaport of Leith. The 
building here reproduced was erected in 1606 ; 
it appears to have been copied from the old 
Port St. Honor6 of Paris, and the stout, 
circular towers that flank its entrance are 
similar to that which still survives at the 
north-west angle of Holyrood. Above the 
central gate there rises a great square tower, 
battlemented at the top, and surmounted by a 
stone spire the same that may be seen in the 
Scottish Loan Gallery of the Exhibition, in 
Duncan's picture of 'The Entry of Prince 
Charles into Edinburgh/ behind the fine grey 
vista of the Canongate gables, and the slim, 
isolated column of the Canongate Cross. 
This old gate figured prominently in the 
parliamentary proceedings consequent upon 
the Porteous Mob of 1736. To punish the 
offending city a bill was introduced to with- 
draw its municipal privileges, disband its 
town guard, and dismantle its Nether-Bow 
Port. The disgrace was only averted by the 


firm and united action of the Scottish peers 
and members, headed by the Duke of Argyll ; 
a fine was paid by the magistrates to the 
widow of Porteous ; and in the matter of the 
gate a compromise was effected, the gate was 
allowed to remain, but required to remain open. 
Nine years later it was closed in hottest haste 
to resist the young Pretender and his High- 
landers, and in 1764 it was finally dismantled 
and abolished, spite of the protest and lamen- 
tations of Wilson, the lame schoolmaster and 
biting satirist, in his 'Sermon preached by 
Claudero on the Condemnation of the Nether- 
Bow Porch of Edinburgh.' 

On our left hand, as we enter the street, are 
'The Twelve Apostles' House,' that used as 
the ' French Ambassador's Chapel ' in Queen 
Mary's reign, and a timber house which 
formerly stood in Dickson's Close, and was the 
home, in 1786, of David Allan, 'the Scottish 
Hogarth,' the precursor of Wilkie as a painter 
of subjects of Scottish humble life. 

The next edifice, the Bow-head Corner 
House, is a singularly important and complete 
example of the overhanging tenements of Old 
Edinburgh, swelling in girth with each ascend- 
ing story, and surmounted by a steeply ridged 


roof, broken by boldly projecting dormers a 
style of architecture which, dates from 1508, 
when the magistrate permitted the citizens to 
extend their dwellings seven feet over the 
street, on condition that they employed for that 
purpose the stout oak grown in the forest of 
Burgh Muir, which had just been gifted by 
James iv. to the city. Round the street floor 
of the Bow-head Corner House there sweeps 
an open piazza, supported on square oaken 
beams ; the front is full of pleasantly varied 
line and depth of contrasting shadow, and is 
decorated between the windows of the second 
floor with a row of fluted, pseudo-Ionic pilasters. 
This building occupied the north-east angle of 
the precipitous West Bow, facing towards the 
Castle and the Lawnmarket. It was close to 
the Weigh-house or ' Butter Trone/ where, as 
the 'Diurnal of Occurrents' relates, Queen 
Mary, on her entry into Edinburgh in 1561, 
was met by a quaintly devised pageant ' Ane 
bonnie barne descendit down fra a cloude as 
if it had been ane angell/ and presented Her 
Majesty with the keys of the city and a Bible 
and Psalm-book ; and ' that being done, the 
barne ascendit in the cloud, and the said clud 
stekit ' (closed). 


Beyond the Bow-head Corner House, with- 
drawn from the main street as befits a domicile 
of such unhallowed repute, is the gable of the 
house of Major Weir, that most terrible necro- 
mancer of Scottish legend. His history may 
be read at length in Frazer's Providential 
Passages, a manuscript drawn up by the 
minister of Wardlaw in 1670, the year of 
"Weir's execution ; or in Sinclair's Satan's In- 
visible World Discovered, in which the 'late 
Professor of Philosophy in the University of 
Glasgow ' has embodied the Reverend Mr. 
Frazer's narrative, with little alteration, and 
no acknowledgment. 

Weir was the son of a Lanarkshire farmer. 
He served as a lieutenant against the Irish 
insurgents in 1641, and retiring to Edinburgh, 
he attained the rank of Major in the City 
Guard, that venerable body which Kirkpatrick 
Sharpe used to caricature so unmercifully, and 
whose uniform of red with blue facings is 
worn by some of the attendants in the Old 
Street. Weir's austere demeanour 'a tall, 
black man, and ordinarily looked down; a 
grim countenance, and a big nose ' won him 
a reputation for uncommon sanctity among 
the 'Bow-head Saints;' the faithful women 


styled him 'the Angelical Thomas;' 'he became 
so notourly regarded among the Presby- 
terian strict sect that if four met together be 
sure Major Weir was one;' and, especially, 
his power in extempore prayer was the marvel 
of all listeners. But it was observed that he 
never engaged in devotional exercises without 
grasping his curious black staff, which proved 
in the end to be nothing less than his necro- 
mantic wand. At length he was seized with 
deadly sickness, made a formal confession of 
the most detestable crimes possible and im- 
possible, and was judicially strangled and 
then burnt, frantically refusing all benefit of 
clergy. His staff also was cast into the flames, 
and 'whatever incantation was in it, the 
persons present aver yt it gave rare turnings 
and was long a burning, as also himself.' 
Grizel Weir, his sister and partner in crime, 
after the most extraordinary disclosures, was 
sentenced to be hanged in the Grassmarket. 
She asserted that her mother was a witch, 
as she knew by a certain mark that appeared 
upon her forehead, and that she herself bore 
the same ; and presently, ' seeming to frown, 
there was seen an exact horse-shoe shaped for 
nails in her wrinkles, terrible enough, I assure 


you, to the stoutest beholder ' a hint which 
was seized upon by Sir Walter, and utilised 
in his Eedgauntlet. 

The shades of the guilty pair still haunted 
the scene of their crimes. At dead of night 
the Major might be seen in a cloud of fire, 
careering through the air, mounted on a head- 
less charger ; or sauntering, black-clad and 
demure of aspect, through the darkness of the 
Lawnmarket, his cane preceding him like a 
link-boy, and bearing a lantern to light its 
master's footsteps. And then, towards morn- 
ing, a carriage would be heard thundering 
down the Bow; it would pull up at what 
had formerly been Weir's door, and presently 
drive off again, bearing the Major home after 
his night of respite. Would-be tenants of 
the dwelling were scared on the first night of 
their occupancy by a weird apparition, which 
took the form of a ghostly, calf-shaped monster, 
that appeared to them as they slept, pranced 
with its forefeet upon the bed, grimly contem- 
plated its trembling occupants for a certain 
space, and then grew dim and melted into the 
moon-beams ; and the house remained empty 
and deserted, a place to be passed with 
shuddering, till its removal in 1878. 


The next building that claims our attention 
is a tall stone structure, raised clear of the 
street upon heavy piers and strong circular 
arches, and surmounted by picturesque ' crow- 
feet' gables. It was the residence of the 
Earls of Selkirk, and afterwards of the Earls 
of Hyndford ; but it has still more interesting 
associations as the home, in girlhood, of 
Anne Eutherford, the mother of Scott. From 
her father, Dr. John Eutherford, a pupil of 
Boerhaave, celebrated as a clinical lecturer, it 
passed to her half-brother, Dr. Daniel Euther- 
ford, known as a skilful botanist, and in 
chemistry, as the discoverer of nitrogen, and 
became a kind of second home to the novelist 
himself during his school and college days. 

Passing the 'Laus Deo' House and the 
'Cunzie House,' or Mint, we find the east 
side of the ' Street ' occupied by the house of 
Andrew Symson, the printer. It, of course, 
dates from a much earlier period than his 
from the beginning of the sixteenth century 
for Symson was not one of the first of the 
Edinburgh printers, like the "Walter Chapman 
and Andrew My liar of the 1509-10 Breviarium 
Alerdonense. He was the Episcopal clergy- 
man of Kirkinner, and was ejected from his 



living in 1688. He acted as secretary to the 
learned Sir George Mackenzie, the 'bluidy 
Mackenzie ' of Scottish tradition, whose Obser- 
vations on the Acts of Parliament he re-edited in 
1698. His life as a printer ranges from about 
1700 till his death twelve years later. 

Next comes the Oratory of Mary of Guise 
a portion of the Guise Palace erected on the 
Castle Hill, under the protection of the guns 
of the fortress, after the English invasion of 
1544 and the destruction of Holyrood. It 
was probably the richest of all the Old Edin- 
burgh dwellings, delicately panelled and painted 
within, furnished with carvings in stone and 
carvings in rare wood brought from overseas, 
and provided in one of its inner chambers 
with a draw-well bored deep through the 
Castle rock a safely-nested spot of French 
refinement amid its ruder Scottish surround- 

The south-east entrance of the street is a 
model of the finely-groined Gothic porch 
erected by Abbot Bellenden in 1490, as the 
main approach to Holyrood Abbey ; and abut- 
ting on this is the huge turreted pile of the 
Tolbooth, or city prison, with its railed and 
open platform, upon which executions were 


enacted, and with the celebrated 'Blue Blanket,' 
the banner of the Trade Guilds, floating from 
its summit. Beneath the platform, isolated in 
the centre of the street, stands the City Cross ; 
and behind it the hexagonal tower of Cardinal 
Beaton's House. 

This important mansion was erected by 
James Beaton, Chancellor of the kingdom, 
Archbishop of Glasgow, and finally Primate of 
Scotland; and was the scene, in 1520, of that 
historic meeting between Beaton and Gavin 
Douglas, on the morning of ' Cleanse the 
Causeway,' the bloody fight between the rival 
factions of Angus and Arran. A struggle 
seeming imminent, the gentle and learned 
poet-bishop of Dunkeld visited the residence 
of the Archbishop to entreat his priestly aid 
as a peacemaker between the contending 
parties. Beaton protested his helplessness in 
the matter; but, striking his breast to em- 
phasise the assurance, the armour that, in 
anticipation of battle, he had concealed beneath 
his episcopal robes, rang out with a hollow 
sound. ' How, my Lord,' was the reply of 
Douglas, ' methinks your conscience clatters.' l 

1 In Scots the word means indifferently ' to ring 
like metal' and 'to disclose secrets.' 


During the fight the Archbishop, in the words 
of Buchanan, ' flew about in armour like a fire- 
brand of sedition ; ' but the Angus faction 
won the day. Arran and his son escaped 
precipitately across the ' Nor' Loch,' mounted 
on a collier's horse ; Beaton took refuge behind 
the altar of the Dominican Church, and owed 
his life to the intercession of the peaceable 
Bishop of Dunkeld. The youthful James v. 
is believed to have resided in this house after 
his flight from Stirling Castle and final escape 
from the clutches of the Douglas faction. It 
passed from the Archbishop to his nephew, 
Cardinal David Beaton, in whose time Queen 
Mary here graced by her presence the wedding 
festivities of the Earl of Moray ; and in 1555 
it was used for the accommodation of the High 
School of the city. 

Among the other interesting buildings that 
are reproduced are the Old Parliament Hall, 
with the Parliament Stairs ; Eobert Gourlay's 
House ; the Assembly Eooms in the Bow ; and 
the Black Turnpike, formerly the house of 
Provost Sir Simon Preston, in which Queen 
Mary was confined after her surrender at 

It should be said that a useful historical 


and descriptive guide to the various buildings 
has been prepared by Mr. J. C. Dunlop, the 
Convener of the Old Edinburgh Committee, 
and his sister, Miss Dunlop, and illustrated by 
vigorous little sketches from the pencil of 
Mr. W. B. Hole, A.R.S.A. It will be valued 
by all visitors who desire not only to enjoy 
the visual picturesqueness of the Street, its 
pleasantness of varied form and mellow 
colouring, but also its other ' remoter charm 
by thought supplied,' which comes from 
association with strange or stirring human 


FROM The Academy, 28TH JANUARY 1888 


fTlHE Messrs. Dowdeswell have at present on 
-*- view in their Galleries, New Bond Street, 
along with other things of interest, a compre- 
hensive collection of the works of Adolphe 
Monticelli a painter as yet not widely known 
in this country, though a small but well- 
selected series of his works was included in 
the Edinburgh Loan Exhibition of 1886. 
That he was at least an artist of the most 
pronounced individuality will be apparent to 
every visitor to the Exhibition, though there 
may be more diverse opinions as to whether 
his especial individuality was legitimate and a 
thing to be praised. 

The works now brought together represent 
several periods of his art, each clearly marked 
and distinguished by qualities of its own. At 
first he was academic, and aimed at classical 
correctness of clearly defined form. Ingres was 
then his master, the far-off" divinity before 
whom he bowed. Of this period, No. 56, 'La 



Jeune M6re,' is fairly representative a work 
of extreme interest, but interesting solely as a 
link in the painter's career; interesting, in 
relation to his future work, for its almost total 
lack of artistic value, or even of artistic 
promise a work dull and formal in the 
definition of its masses, commonplace exceed- 
ingly in the character of its figures, feeble in 
the colouring of its grey-green wooded dis- 
tance, and worse than feeble in the ruddy 
touches, so isolated and unrelated, which 
express the flowers that cluster round the 
vase. In No. 1, 'La Fenaison,' we find a 
distinct advance. This has clearly been done 
under the influence of Diaz. It is rather cold 
in general effect; there is a want of half-tones ; 
its shadows sink too suddenly into absolute 
blackness, and its passages of warm colouring 
are still somewhat patchy and isolated ; but it 
is, on the whole, a craftsman-like and pleas- 
ing work, the production of a man who is 
speedily gaming the power of doing what he 
will in his chosen medium. No. 1 4, ' Dames 
et Enfants aux Champs ' especially in the 
treatment of its figures connects itself more 
definitely with the first-named picture and its 
period. Yet its colouring the vivid and 


sunny green and gold of its landscape points, 
with sufficient distinctness, to the Monticelli 
of the future to the Monticelli whose fully 
developed manner we know and value. In 
the productions of the next period typically 
represented by works like No. 6, 'La Harpiste;' 
No. 9, 'Dolce far niente;' No. 10, 'I/Invoca- 
tion aux Dieux ; ' No. 41, ' Fete dans le Jardin 
d'un Palais ; ' and No. 46, ' Au Clair de Lune ' 
the painter may be said to have 'found 
himself,' to have asserted his artistic individu- 
ality, and at length spoken in his own artistic 
tongue. The subjects of this period are 
commonly parties of ladies, seated or reclining 
on the turf of gardens, on the sward of forests, 
or on the rocks of the seashore. Already the 
painter has reached the fullest subtlety of his 
colouring, though in his later works he fre- 
quently deals with more potent tones and 
combinations ; the landscape surroundings are 
broadly treated ; the classical draperies of the 
figures are gracefully but vaguely generalised ; 
and in each case the heads and faces are 
handled with much refinement and delicacy, 
with a beauty of dexterous finish which 
derives an additional piquancy from its 
contrast in method to the other portions of 


the work. We next pass to subjects like 
No. 19, 'L'Entree du Manoir,' and No. 24, 
'La Musique.' Here passages of delicate 
detail are wholly absent ; but we find a 
certain definite blocking out of each figure, 
and frequently the most skilful and swiftly 
synthetic suggestion of form and action, 
along with greater force and power of 
ardent colouring than distinguished any 
former phase of the artist's work. Finally, 
we have a period of Monticelli's art where 
he seems to have abandoned form altogether, 
in which he blends tint with tint, and 
opposes pigment to pigment without any 
reference at all to 'the things signified,' 
with no more aim to represent the qualities 
and appearances of natural things than we 
find in a Rhodian plate or a Persian carpet 
a time when he seeks to be an exponent 
of the pure sensuous delightfulness that lies 
in colours subtly combined, and of this 
alone. ' Finally ' we said ; yet it is hardly 
so, for there is in Monticelli's art a more 
ultimate finality still, a 'last scene of all,' 
a phase in which his work shows that his 
colour-sense had at length deserted him, and 
that in losing this he may be said to have 


lost all artistic value. Fortunately this 
phase one sad enough to contemplate 
is wholly unrepresented in the present col- 

' A colourist that certainly,' will probably 
be his characterisation by those who have 
made the round of this gallery lined with 
his work. 'A great colourist,' it might be 
added, without fear of serious question. And 
a colourist of a curiously exceptional range 
and variety. For almost all the greatest 
colourists of the past and the present, whether 
they have aimed at delicacy or at force, 
whether they have been Correggio or Titian, 
Orchardson or Watts, have in a sense been 
mannerists; for their works show constantly 
recurrent combinations of colour, certain 
definite harmonies and contrasts of hue 
which are habitual to each master, and by 
which his productions are recognisable. But 
in the case of Monticelli, it is not too much 
to say that, if he sought for little else, he 
has at least taken all colour 'for his province;' 
that his colour-schemes are exceptionally 
varied, and their range unusually wide ; that 
he passes at will from colour potent and 
startling as a trumpet blast to colour 


delicate and cool and silvern as the sound of 
a stream rippling beneath the moonlight ; and 
that his productions are recognisable as his, 
less by any recurrent and habitual combina- 
tions of hue, than by peculiarities of touch 
and handling which as was to be expected 
are sufficiently well marked in the art of a 
painter who, in much of his most typical 
work, seems to have discarded the time- 
honoured intervention of the hog's hair- 
brush, to hare had a prejudice in favour of 
applying his pigments directly and undiluted 
from the mouth of the metal colour-tube. 
The variety of his colour is excellently 
emphasised by the arrangement of the present 
gallery, where No. 57, 'Scene du Jardin,' 
with its greys and blues opposed by blacks 
and reds, is placed beneath the glow of 
potent orange, culminating in fullest crimson 
and paling into delicate gold, of No. 58, 'La 
Dame au Perroquet ; ' and the wan effect of 
dying day, with the dusky temple, and blue- 
clad suppliants, in No. 10, ' L'Invocation aux 
Dieux/ is set beside the ruddy joyous warmth 
of No. 9, 'Dolce far niente,' with its white 
dominant sculptured shape and the whiter 
necks and breasts of recumbent women flash- 


ing in points against the embrowned tones 
of herbage and of forest trees. 

But a deliberate examination, a comprehen- 
sive criticism of Monticelli's work, will dis- 
close that it contains much of worth besides 
that which relates solely to colour. His 
treatment of form is admittedly arbitrary 
and capricious; but it is nearly always most 
skilfully selective, and suggestive in a quite 
singular degree. As examples of this, we 
may instance the female forms to the right 
and left of No. 24, 'La Musique,' How 
expressive they are, with all their slightness ; 
how admirably, how rightly and thoroughly, 
each figure is felt beneath its robe ! Or to 
turn to works even more summary in their 
handling take the dogs in No. 52, 'L' Avenue,' 
and No. 51, 'La Cadeau de Fleurs.' Is not 
each touch here laid with the most definitely 
calculated intention, with the most complete 
success 1 Could touches as few as these have 
placed the creatures before us more vividly, 
more completely? Does selective work like 
this not prove that the painter is no sloven or 
blunderer, but a man who in his youth had 
mastered form in its elementary, its academic 
and strictly measurable sense, and won medals 


many of them for such student work, and 
then passed on, quite deliberately and with 
clearly seen purpose, to a far subtler and finer 
perception and portrayal of form? Again, 
in his landscape work, Monticelli frequently 
attains great excellence in truth of tone 
and relation, and in rendering of atmosphere. 
As illustrative of these qualities, we may 
indicate the light grassy bank to the right 
of No. 36, 'Paysage Automne;' No. 32, 
'L'Arche,' which is filled and flooded with 
such a sense of clear, silvery, morning air ; 
and No. 55, 'Sur la Terrasse,' with the 
amplitude and vastness of its space of sky. 

We are far enough from asserting that 
Monticelli has said the last word in Art. 
Painting has other and higher things within 
its range than he ever aimed at; but none 
more typical, or in stricter harmony with its 
own especial genius. And in these days 
when the boundaries of the arts are so 
frequently confused, when graphic art so 
often tends to become merely literary to be 
a narration, or a ' preachment ' of moralities 
there is room enough, and need enough, 
for a painter like Monticelli, who concerns 
himself so exclusively with the things proper 


and peculiar to his own chosen craft, and 
contents himself with manifesting to us the 
most subtle and exquisite delights of colour, 
at which no other art than the painter's can 
do much more than vaguely hint. 



FROM The Scottish Leader, HTH JUNE 1888 


fTlHE twenty-nine tiny pages of Mr. Whistler's 
*- 'Ten o'Clock' announced so long ago 
have at length emerged from the printing press, 
clad in characteristic vesture of brown paper 
cover. As we presume most of our readers 
are aware, the pamphlet is a reprint of a 
lecture delivered by the dexterous and whim- 
sical artist, in London, Cambridge, and Oxford, 
about three years ago. In both style and 
matter it marks a distinct advance upon Mr. 
Whistler's previous pamphlet, the yet briefer 
'Art and Art Critics' of 1878, occasioned by 
Mr. Ruskin's remarks in 'Fors Clavigera' 
upon the author's pictures, and the consequent 
trial which consoled the aggrieved painter- 
plaintiff by an award of one farthing damages. 
But in this literary effort of 1878 Mr. 
Whistler's personal feelings were too closely 
engaged ; he wrote at something like a white 
heat ; and, while the paper purported simply 
to discuss the general question of whether the 


existence of the art-critic was of advantage to 
any one besides himself, the personality of one 
special critic was, all through, clearly in the 
writer's memory from that first page deal- 
ing with 'the difference between Mr. Ruskin 
and myself so Mr. Whistler mildly phrased 
it to that final one in which Mr. Ruskin was 
politely recommended to resign, as incom- 
petent, 'his present Professorship' of Fine 
Art in the University of Oxford. 

In this lecture, however, though Mr. Whistler 
has been unable altogether to avoid repeating 
himself, though some inner necessity has com- 
pelled him, as by an ' attraction of repulsion,' 
to return to the art-critics who have been his 
life-long tormentors, and to say over again 
much the same things of them that he said 
before, he, in the main, confines himself to 
the far more important subject that he has 
chosen ; and what that subject is he discloses 
to us at the outset with the most engaging 
ingenuousness ' I will not conceal from you/ 
he says touchingly ; ' I will not conceal from 
you that I mean to talk about Art.' And to 
talk about Art he forthwith proceeds to talk 
about it brightly, incisively, suggestively. His 
style has gained infinitely in lightness and 


flexibility; he writes but for an occasional 
word or two, and some sligbt eccentricities of 
punctuation like a man not only to the 
manner born, but also to the business trained, 
and he carries to perfection that 'knack of 
short paragraphs ' which he used to consider 
the crowning achievement of the typical 
French art- critic. And at times, too, the 
cynical Mr. Whistler falls surely by mis- 
chance and pure inadvertency into veritable 
prose-poetry, and actually, like any 'most 
gentle priest of the Philistine,' 'ambles 
pleasantly ' and ' babbles of green fields.' 
The following, for example, is exquisite 
word-painting, for which we thank him, 
though it has been produced in defiance of 
his own code of artistic ethics : ' When the 
evening mist clothes the river-side with 
poetry, as with a veil, and the poor build- 
ings lose themselves in the dim sky, and 
the tall chimneys become campanili, and the 
warehouses are palaces in the night, and 
the whole city hangs in the heavens, and 
fairyland is before us then the wayfarer 
hastens home; the working man and the 
cultured one, the wise man, and the one 
of pleasure, cease to understand, as they 


have ceased to see, and nature, who for 
once has sung in tune, sings her exquisite 
song to the artist alone.' The description 
here is ' done to the quick ; ' it is a verbal 
analogue of many a ' Nocturne ' from the 
painter's brush ; it might be a transcript 
in words of one of the lovely Thames 
views in his set of lithographs of that 
finest subject of the set, that only really 
fine one of the portfolio, as his enemies 
among whom are not we might assert. 

But if Mr. Whistler now proves himself a 
more competent writer than heretofore, no 
similar gain, no parallel increase of power, 
is visible in his recent work as artist. He 
paints no 'Portrait of the Artist's Mother' 
now; he gives us no 'Thomas Carlyle' in 
these later days; and the sixty guinea 
' Venice Set ' of plates much as they 
charm the thorough-going Whistlerite 
would never have made the reputation that 
was worthily won by the etcher of the 
' Thames Series ' of thirty years ago. Does 
all this mean that Mr. Whistler has gained 
the power of talking about Art, and is 
losing the ability to produce it ? That were 
loss indeed to him and to us. May we look 


to find him having dropped paint-brush 
and etching-needle grasping the pliant 
goose-quill to furnish forth an infallible 
guide to the beauties of the Royal Academy 
in this our present year of grace, or to 
write, with a fine and quite inevitable im- 
partiality, a review of that gallery of the 
' British Artists ' from which he has just 
withdrawn himself? 

"Well, we may hesitate to allow that the 
professional painter even one so curiously 
skilful as Mr. Whistler would prove that 
ideal art-critic for whom all painters long. 
We may believe that there is truth in the 
old proverb that ' onlookers see most of the 
game ; ' and that a certain detachment from 
the ferment of the conflicting theories and 
practice of the various schools, from the 
masters and their disciples, is needful for 
him who seeks calmly to weigh and rightly 
to estimate the worth of the art that is being 
produced around him, or that comes as his 
heritage from the past. A practitioner's 
view of art is inevitably one-sided, narrow, 
wanting in comprehensiveness. If self-con- 
fident and successful, he values the qualities 
he has himself attained ; if modest and a 



failure, he lauds those for which he has 
striven ; and this, inevitably, to the more or 
less complete exclusion of the thousand 
qualities (some of them incompatible with 
others) which have each their place in the 
sweeping curve, the full-rounded orb, of the 
art of the human race. 

Yet in the writings of artists upon the 
subject of their daily practice there always 
lies a peculiar interest. When a painter 
publishes a descriptive catalogue of his 
pictures as Blake did in 1809, and Madox- 
Brown in 1865 one turns to it with 
avidity, certain of finding something that 
will explain or illustrate the art of its 
individual writer. In a similar direction 
lies the value of Mr. Whistler's present 
pamphlet in its clear statement of that 
theory of art which has guided his own 
practice. He errs in assuming that this 
is the only true theory, that art of worth 
has never been produced upon quite other 
lines. For example, Mr. Whistler preaches, 
in good set phrase, the doctrine of ' Art 
for Art's sake,' though without any of the 
repulsiveness of similar 'preachments' and 
practice by certain of our contemporaries 


among the French. He believes that the 
sole legitimate charm of Art is a sensuous 
one that Art is purely a thing of lines, 
hues, combinations of tones, and the effect 
of these upon the beholder. With Art, he 
says, all should be upon the surface ; and he 
complains that 'people have acquired the 
habit of looking, as who should say, not at 
a picture, but through it, at some human fact 
that shall, or shall not, from a social point of 
view, better their mental or moral state.' 
The phrasing of Mr. Whistler's sentence, 
the form into which he has cast his pro- 
position, recalls a quaintly pregnant verse 
of George Herbert's : 

' The man that looks on glass, 

On it may stay his eye ; 
Or, if he pleaseth, through it pass, 
And then the heavens espy. ' 

And Art, surely, may well be as some choicely 
fashioned glass, on whose surface we may, for 
a moment, ' stay our eye ; ' but which, rightly 
regarded, has the power of disclosing vistas 
into the farther 'heavens' of sentiment, of 
reverie, of aspiration. Mr. Whistler's words 
express very clearly one side of a truth, 
not perhaps the most important side, .but 


certainly that least regarded by the public 
of our time. It is, indeed, true we see it 
daily that the imagination of a person of 
average, or more than average, general cul- 
ture may be appealed to by a very poor 
picture; and that, meanwhile, he may miss 
altogether ' the painter's poetry ' as Mr. 
Whistler excellently has it 'the amazing 
invention, that shall have put form and 
colour into such perfect harmony that ex- 
quisiteness is the result.' But is this a 
conclusive reason for the artist's ceasing 
altogether from his effort to stimulate the 
imagination of those who are to regard his 
picture? The statement of the full truth 
surely is this that a painter must first of 
all vindicate himself as such by evincing 
command over his chosen material, by prov- 
ing his power to manage form, colour, light 
and shade, so as to render these in themselves 
delightful; and must then pass to the 
expression, by means of these, of something 
broadly human. Mere words and their 
combinations are capable of a pleasantness ; 
rightly ordered, they have a sweet jingle of 
their own, just as colours have their own 
special fairness; but we ask the writer for 


something more than this, we expect him 
to say something, to state some human fact, 
or express some human sentiment. 

It has been so with the great masters of 
Art in the past. Take the ' Entombment ' of 
Titian, visible to all men in the Salon Carr6 
of the Louvre. Here there is enough and to 
spare of merely sensuous charm, the ardent 
crimsons oppose the dusky tones right nobly ; 
but what is technical in the work does not 
culminate in itself is pressed to the finer 
end of deepening a human emotion, of 
realising the broad facts of a great historical 
scene. And with Velasquez, Mr. Whistler's 
chosen master, the case is none other; he 
was concerned in the technical problems of 
his art with a delighted concern, but not 
preoccupied with them to the exclusion of 
all else. We remember well once passing 
from Mr. Whistler's 'Sarasate,' in Suffolk 
Street, to the 'Philip iv.' of Velasquez, in 
Trafalgar Square, and the lesson gained by 
the directly sequent sight of the two pictures 
will not be soon forgotten. Mr. Whistler's 
portrait was a most dexterous ' Arrangement 
in Black ' and, saying this, all was said. 
The Spaniard's was a technical achievement 


which included far more than the other 
painter had aimed at; and it gave, besides, 
a vision of his sitter flesh and spirit such 
as the art of Mr. Whistler has, in recent 
years at least, never even striven after. 

There are a multitude of other points in Mr. 
Whistler's pamphlet which we would willingly 
deal with. We would gladly discuss his theory 
of Art and its relation to the masses. ' The 
masses' the term, in any such connection, 
would make Mr. Whistler shudder. 'Art 
for all and by the aid of all' demands the 
nobly humanitarian voice of Mr. Morris. 
'Art is for the artist,' responds, in effect, 
Mr. Whistler, 'Art is for myself, and for 
Velasquez, and for Rembrandt' and the 
perfect truth lies between the two. 

Again, his theory of the artist's relation to 
nature is well deserving of attention; his 
theory that ' Nature contains the elements, 
in colour and form, of all pictures, as the 
keyboard contains the notes of all music,' that 
'the artist is born to pick and choose, and 
group with science these elements ; ' that ' in 
all that is dainty and loveable in nature' 
' dainty and loveable ' to the eye, he clearly 
means the painter ' finds hints for his own 


combinations ; ' and that ' to say to the painter 
that nature is to be taken as she is, is to say 
to the player that he may sit on the piano.' 
But we have written enough to show how 
exceedingly * full of matter ' is this little 
pamphlet. With all its flippancy, with all 
its hyperbole and force of one-sided epigram- 
matical presentiment, it is a distinctly fresh, 
suggestive, and valuable contribution to the 
literature of the Fine Arts. 


FROM The Academy, 22ND JULY 1883 



ll/TICHAEL FIELD that gifted, that dili- 
gent, poet has in the past produced 
much that is passionate, much that is beautiful 
the passion showing with in tensest flame in 
her dramas and in Long Ago ; the beauty seen 
perhaps at its most typical flower in the lyrics 
of Sight and Song. But the present volume, 
the last that its writer has produced, is per- 
vaded by qualities which, while they by no 
means appear here for the first time, yet 
certainly are here more recurrent than hither- 
to ; do certainly find here the most sustained 
as well as the most clear and perfect expres- 
sion that they have yet reached. 

The mystery of human life, the mystery of 
its visible ending, have indeed haunted this 
poet throughout her whole poetical career. 
Not wonderful that ! so elemental is the sub- 
ject, so inevitable are the thoughts the 


' thoughts too deep for tears ' that it suggests 
that no poet can escape from its shadow, or 
from the brooding sadness, that is not all 
sadness, which the shadow strikes into human 
hearts. But what substantially distinguishes 
the present volume from those that have pre- 
ceded it is the changed, the ennobled, temper 
which the poet has now brought to the con- 
templation of death. It is a temper of mind 
which in the calmness of it at least, in the 
altitude in which it abides, in the rarity of the 
air which is vital to it is essentially Words- 

Of this especial mode of regarding the shows 
of mortal life, and its vapour-like vanishing, we 
have already had indications in such poems as 
the 'Shepherd Boy' of Sight and Song; and 
readers of that poem will require no further 
words of mine to indicate my meaning. But 
the mood which in Sight and Song was sparsely 
episodical, here pervades the book from end to 
end. The opening ' Invocation ' of the volume 
shows us 

' The white swan, that fair diviner, 
Who in death a bliss descrying 
Sings her sweetest notes a-dying ! ' 

In the first poem of the First Book of these 


songs we see mortal love intensely triumphing 
over mortality 

' Heaven itself is but the casket 
For Love's treasure ere he ask it, 
Ere with burning heart he follow, 
Piercing through corruption's hollow. 5 

And if its final poem ends the book with a 
burst of lyric appeal to Bacchus for his inspir- 
ation, we may be sure that it is the rightly 
divine Bacchus who is here invoked ; and that 
the wine prayed for is nought but that draught 
of strong poetic vintage that shall clarify and 
not dim the eyes, that shall make them keen 
to divine the shows of the world, and to pierce 
into that ether of the imaginative existence 
which girds it, and begins where the rim of 
our mortal world ends. 

The real significance, the deepest emphasis 
of the book, as well as the high- water mark of 
its artistry, must be sought for in poems like 
' Death, men say ' (p. 8), or ' Others may drag 
at Memory's Fetter' (p. 32), or 'Bring me 
Life of Fickle Breath ' (on the following page), 
or ' Death, for all thy grasping Stealth ' (p. 35), 
or ' Solitary Death ' (p. 38), or ' Yonder slope 
of sunny ground ' (p. 42), or that lovely 
memorial poem, ' No longer will she bend ' 


(p. 51). But instead of bare catch-lines, let 
me give a pregnant quotation : brief, but an 
entire poem : 

' Others may drag at memory's fetter, 
May turn for comfort to the vow 
Of mortal breath ; I hold it better 
To learn if verily and how 
Love knits me with the loved one now. 

' Others for solace, sleep-forsaken, 
May muse upon the days of old ; 
To me it is delight to waken, 
To find my Dead, to feel them fold 
My heart, and for its dross give gold.' 

Or take this equally brief piece, thinking as 
you read it as perforce you must think of 
Browning's ' Still Ailing Wind : ' 

' Come, mete me out my loneliness, O wind, 

For I would know 

How far the living who must stay behind 
Are from the dead who go. 

' Eternal Passer-by, I feel there is 

In thee a stir, 

A strength to pierce the yawning distances 
From her gravestone to her. ' 

The absence of passion from such poems 
as the above, the substitution for passion of 
something intenser still, is characteristic of 
all the pieces in the book dealing with the 
memory of the dead, and with the deathless 
love of the living. 


How, exactly, the poet conceives the case of 
those who have passed out of mortal bounds, 
it is difficult clearly to gather. Probably her 
faith on this matter is no steadfastly ascending 
temple-flame ; probably it flickers fitfully, this 
way and that, like the thoughts of so many of 
us in this wind-blown age. At any rate, we 
find here no faintest echo of that ' Certain am 
I/ which sounded through the song the ' solemn 
Tuscan fashioned,' hardly a hint of the medi- 
aeval conception of a future which for some of 
us must still be a constant conception, and 
one not merely of bygone ages and of bygone 
personal moods in which men and women 
are substantially men and women still, who 
' look so and so, and press actual hands.' Our 
poet has not yet attained to think that the 
entering into bounds, the becoming severely 
conditioned, the undergoing that birth of a 
spirit ' come in the flesh ' with all the straight- 
ness and pain which such ' coming ' means, is, 
indeed, nothing other than progress, is gain 
which can never be dropped, or lost, in a 
wisely and justly ordered universe. 

Yet the pantheistic conception of things, 
short as it may fall of actual, sufficing, every- 
day comfort, is one certainly capable of ex- 


quisite poetic issues ; and the conception has 
never been more exquisitely handled handled 
with more of the rare, thin, fine poetry of 
which it is capable than in ' Winds To-day,' 
with its vision of the dead holding in their 
hands and outpouring them all the subtle, 
spiritual essences that green the face of our 
visible world year by year : 

' Winds to-day are large and free, 
Winds to-day are westerly ; 
From the land they seem to blow 
Whence the sap begins to flow 
And the dimpled light to spread, 
From the country of the dead. 

' Ah, it is a wild, sweet land 
Where the coming May is planned, 
Where such influences throb 
As our frosts can never rob 
Of their triumph, when they bound 
Through the tree and from the ground. 

' Great within me is my soul, 
Great to journey to its goal, 
To the country of the dead ; 
For the cornel-tips are red, 
And a passion rich in strife 
Drives me towards the home of life. 

' Oh, to keep the spring with them 
Who have flushed the cornel-stem, 
Who imagine at its source 
All the year's delicious course, 
Then express by wind and light 
Something of their rapture's height ! ' 


Most exquisite again, in a similar mood, is 
the address to Death, ending : 

' To a lone freshwater, where the sea 
Stirs the silver flux of the reeds and willows, 

Come thou, and beckon me 
To lie in the lull of the sand-sequestered billows : 

' Then take the life I have called my own, 
And to the liquid universe deliver ; 

Loosening my spirit's zone, 

Wrap round me as thy limbs the wind, the light, the 

Or, yet again, the lighter touch of 

' Little Lettuce has lost her name, 
Slipt away from our praise and our blame ; 

Let not love pursue her, 

But conceive her free 

Where the bright drops be 
On the hills, and no longer rue her ! ' 

So far as I have yet dealt with the book, I 
have dealt rather with its matter than its 
manner ; but its diction also is well worthy of 
comment. Language, whether it be French, 
Latin, and the like, or simply that pictured 
and richly tinted language which is the speci- 
ality of the poet and the man of letters, is a 
thing to be learned, to be acquired by study 
a thing that hardly comes instinctively to any 
one. Michael Field is not only, as I have 
said, a gifted and a diligent poet, she is also a 
learned one ; a curious student of all the fine 



and expressive ways of verse, and of the 
artists, old and new, who have devised or 
employed the most varied poetical tools. 
Manifestly she has studied many authors, in 
languages not a few, and studied them to her 
own poetic profit ; has, by means of that study, 
been enabled to express more adequately and 
directly than would otherwise have been 
possible, thoughts and feelings that are still 
personal and essentially her own. Even with- 
out the hint conveyed in one of the verses of 
p. 81, the discerning reader might easily have 
guessed that 

' Campion, with the noble ring 
Of choice spirits,' 

who were his song-writing contemporaries, had 
been a dominant influence in moulding Michael 
Field's poetic method; the lyric work of 
Browning's later volumes has undoubtedly 
formed consciously or unconsciously the 
chief model for such free sparkling pieces as 
' Say, if a gallant rose my bower doth scale ; ' 
and the opening lines of 'A shady silence fills ' 
(p. 104), recalls quite curiously a certain fine 
descriptive passage in ' Fifine at the Fair.' 

I have dwelt much on the seriousness of 
subject and treatment that characterises the 


present book. But let it not be thought that, 
even here, its writer's muse constantly haunts 
the grave and busies itself with mere moon- 
light-coloured meditations upon the dim, far- 
off future. Let me disprove any such possible 
suspicion by a single quotation, a song of love 
jubilantly satisfied : 

' Through hazels and apples 

My love I led, 
Where the sunshine dapples 

The strawberry bed : 
Did we pluck and eat 

That morn, my sweet ? 

' And back by the alley 

Our path I chose, 
That we might dally 

By one rare rose : 
Did we smell at the heart 

And then depart ? 

' A lover, who grapples 
With love, doth live 
Where roses and apples 
Have naught to give : 
Did I take my way 
Unfed that day ? ' 

I think it is not the mere charm of novelty, 
the sense that this is the latest poetic gift of a 
generous poetic giver, which inclines me to 
believe that the present is the book of hers 
that will be oftenest in my hands, the one 
whose contents will be oftenest in my memory. 


FROM The Scottish Art Review, AUGUST 1889 


HOUSE, which architecturally is 
one of the most interesting and pictur- 
esque of Scottish mansions, is situated, pleas- 
antly embowered in its woods, in Midlothian, 
a little to the east of Musselburgh, in the 
midst of a historic locality, for near it are the 
famous battlefields of Pinkie, of Carberry, and 
of Prestonpans. 

It is to Alexander Seton, first Earl of 
Dunfermline, President of the Court of Session 
and Chancellor of Scotland, that the house 
owes certain of the most striking features 
which constitute it an excellent example of 
the Scottish domestic architecture of the early 
part of the seventeenth century a period of 
transition, when the necessity for great military 
strength had become less imperative than was 
formerly the case ; when the castle had begun 
to change into the mansion; and when, in 
consequence of the Union of the Crowns, 
English fashions and features were being in- 


troduced into Scottish buildings. The Earl 
whose biography has recently been written in 
so scholarly a manner by Mr. George Seton, 
was a mighty builder, and to him we owe also 
the still finer Castle of Fyvie, in Aberdeen- 
shire. He acquired Pinkie previous to 1613 ; 
indeed, probably before the end of the six- 
teenth century. At this time the mansion 
seems to have been little more than a strongly 
fortified tower. Much of the adjoining pro- 
perty, especially on the farther side of the 
Esk, including the estates of Monkton and 
Stoneyhill, had been owned by the Abbey of 
Dunfermline, whose Chapter had worked the 
coal of the district as early as the twelfth 
century. The massive eastern tower of Pinkie, 
with its strong and curious winding staircase, 
has been assigned to the fourteenth century 
by a competent architectural authority, and 
his conjecture is confirmed by a deed, of which 
a copy is in the present baronet's possession, 
where it is stated that the tower was raised 
by the Abbot of Dunfermline in 1390. The 
Chancellor's chief addition, in the more modern 
taste of his time, was the celebrated Painted 
Gallery, and the fine oriel in the south front 
which lights it, a style of window evidently 


imported from England, very unusual in 
Scottish architecture, though other examples 
occur in Huntly Castle, Maybole, and The 
Earl's Palace, Kirkwall. The Chancellor's 
share in the work is recorded in Kingston's 
'Continuation of Maitland's House of Seytoun,' 
by the statement that ' he acquired the lands of 
Pinkie, where he built ane noble house, brave 
stone dykes about the garden and orchards, 
with other commendable policie about it,' and 
by a modestly phrased inscription ' Dominus 
Alexander Setonius hanc sedificavit, non ad 
animi sed fortunarum et agelli modum, 1613 ' 
cut upon the front, but now concealed by 
the modern additions about the entrance, 
erected in the beginning of the present 

As we approach the door of the mansion, 
our attention is arrested by another piece of 
the Earl's work, by the well in the centre of 
the courtyard, a beautiful and elaborate ex- 
ample of Renaissance architecture, which, in 
our own time, has been reproduced for the 
Tweeddale Monument at Haddington. It rises 
to the height of twenty-four feet, supporting, 
upon four Roman Doric columns and piers 
connected by rounded arches, an open lantern 



or canopy of four pointed arches, surmounted 
by an ornamental vase. The structure is 
richly decorated with the monograms and 
heraldic devices of the Setons, and is inscribed 
round the sides with a quotation from Horace, 
on the south side, "f FONTE . HOC . FRIGIDIOR ; 
on the east, QUO NONVEL PURIOR . ALTER ; on 
the north, ET CAPITI ET MEMBRIS ; and on the 
west, VTILIS VNDA . FLUIT. We are informed 
by Sir John Hope that this well exhibits the 
most marked similarity to the work of Vignola, 
who was much employed by the Farnese family, 
and was the architect of their palace at 
Caprarola, near Viterbo ; and Sir John con- 
siders it probable that Seton, whose early 
residence and education in Italy must have 
familiarised him with foreign art, employed 
Italian workmen upon this and other portions 
of the Pinkie buildings. 

A recessed or arched bower in the centre of 
the east front of the house beneath the long 
row of seven tall chimney stalks which are so 
characteristic a feature of the mansion bears 
the arms of the Hays with the date 1697, and 
was constructed after Pinkie (which had 
previously been inhabited by another lawyer, 
Lord Clerk Register James Makgill of 


Rankeillour, who died here in 1578) had 
passed into the possession of the Tweeddale 
family, by whom it was held from 1690 till 
1778, when it was acquired by Sir Archibald 
Hope, Bart., of Craighall, grandfather of the 
present owner. 

Before quitting the exterior, we may direct 
attention to an excellent old four-sided Scottish 
sundial, built into the top of the garden wall. 
It is surmounted by a finial, resting on four 
stone balls, which is richly carved with clusters 
of fruit, and ends in a picturesque metal 

The Entrance Hall, a portion of the recent 
additions to the house, contains a superb 
example of French furniture, a magnificent 
cabinet of wood, mounted, in the richest Louis 
Quatorze style, with gilded metal-work ; 
and a companion cabinet, similarly decorated, 
stands in the Inner Hall. Each of the doors 
of the cabinet is adorned with the conventional 
brass scroll-work of the period, the wreaths 
being surmounted by naked cupids, symbolical 
in their employments of the arts and sciences 
one of music, one of astronomy, another of 
architecture, and a fourth of painting and 
sculpture, the rather dteollette bust, which is 


being chiselled by the chubby children in the 
last compartment, showing, we believe, the 
features of Madame de Maintenon. According 
to family tradition, these splendid pieces of 
cabinetmaker's work formed part of a set, 
including the celebrated coin-cabinet, which, 
on account of its contents, was purchased by 
the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland from 
the Faculty of Advocates, with the view of 
completing the numismatic collection of their 
museum. At the time of its purchase the 
value of the cabinet was estimated at 50; 
but gradually its excellence, as an example of 
French art of the early eighteenth century, 
came to be recognised, and in 1881 it was 
sold for the sum of 3500, an amount which, 
ever since, has furnished the Antiquaries with a 
much needed little fund for the extension of 
their museum. The coin-cabinet is understood 
to have afterwards changed hands several times, 
always at a very substantially increased price, 
and to have found a final home in the collec- 
tion of a member of the Rothschild family. 
It would appear that the two pieces at Pinkie 
were executed, by order of Louis xiv., to 
contain a set of Sevres china which he in- 
tended as a gift to Charles u. of Spain, but 


the relations between the monarchs having 
become less cordial, the idea of presentation 
was abandoned; the cabinets were exposed 
for sale in Paris, and were purchased by 
Thomas Hope, a physician, third son of the 
eighth baronet, and by him bequeathed to his 
nephew Sir Archibald. 

On our way to the Dining-Eoom, we pass 
through a small ante-room, where an excellent 
impression of Seymour Haden's ' Breaking up 
of the Agamemnon ' and a photograph of the 
vessel as she appeared off Naples in 1760 
remind us that Kear-Admiral Thomas Hope, 
a late brother of the present baronet, was 
the last commander of this famous old ship 
of war. 

In the dining-room, which has been 
modernised, and presents few of its original 
features, with the exception of the fine oriel 
at its end, are hung the greater part of the 
more interesting family portraits ; though that 
of Sir Thomas Hope, the founder of the house, 
is in the Drawing-room, and will be referred 
to when we come to deal with that apartment. 
The family portraits at Pinkie may be said to 
present us, in brief, with a consecutive view of 
the history of portraiture in our country, for 


they include examples of many of our best 
known portraitists from the days of Jamesone 
to those of Raeburn and of his pupil Syme. 

The portrait of Sir Thomas's son, Sir John 
Hope, the second baronet, a characteristic and 
well-preserved example of George Jamesone, 
hangs in the Dining-room. It is a bust- 
portrait, the face being turned in three-quarters 
to the right. He is represented as a man 
comparatively young, with a bright and intel- 
ligent face, a profusion of dark-brown hair, 
dark eyes and eyebrows, and a short moustache. 
The costume is a black doublet slashed with 
white at the breast and sleeves, with a round 
white collar; and the picture in every part, 
especially in the dress, bears evident traces of 
Jamesone's brush. Sir John Hope was a 
personage who played an active part in the 
history of his time. In 1632 he was ap- 
pointed a Lord of Session, with the title of 
Lord Craighall ; and the origin of the right 
claimed by the Lord Advocate to plead covered 
before the bench is commonly stated though 
the assertion is a more than doubtful one to 
have arisen from the fact that he and his two 
brothers were judges during the time that his 
father held the office of King's Advocate. In 


1638 Lord Craighall refused to take the King's 
Covenant, until it should have been explained 
by the General Assembly; in 1640 he was a 
member of the Committee of Estates ; in 1644 
a commissioner for the planting of churches ; 
and in 1645 he was sworn a Privy Councillor. 
In 1651 his brother, Sir James Hope of 
Hopetoun, was accused of having advised 
Charles n. to make certain concessions to Crom- 
well, and pleaded that the recommendation 
was Lord Craighall's, who had advised that 
the King should ' treat with Cromwell for the 
one-halff of his cloake before he lost the 
quhole.' Craighall was cited to appear and 
answer the charge, but no further action seems 
to have been taken in the matter. He became 
a commissioner for the administration of justice, 
and appears to have acted as president of the 
court; and he died in Edinburgh in 1654. 

The portrait of his wife, Margaret, daughter 
of Sir Archibald Murray of Black barony, a 
fair-haired, hazel-eyed lady, with an individual 
face, is also an excellent Jamesone, and especi- 
ally interesting as an example of the costume 
of the period. She wears a stiff muslin collar, 
standing out on each side; the dress is of 
brown, richly brocaded in gold and colours, 


worn low at the breast, where another space 
of stiff muslin appears, and is fastened with a 
red rosette of ribbons. Large pearl earrings 
are worn, and from each a larger pearl depends 
by a black cord. A delicate necklace of gold 
and black enamel, with a pendant of dark 
stones, hung round the neck by another black 
cord, complete the decorations of this old- 
world lady. 

Above this picture is placed a most typical 
and unmistakable example of the portraiture 
of Sir John Medina, the painter who was 
patronised and introduced into Scotland by 
David, Earl of Leven, about 1688, and whose 
works are to be found in most of our Scottish 
mansions. This is a portrait of Sir Thomas 
Hope, who passed Advocate in 1701, and 
succeeded his cousin as eighth baronet in 
1766. He occupied himself much in improv- 
ing his estates, and drained the lands to the 
east of the Meadows of Edinburgh, where 
Hope Park Crescent and Terrace still witness 
to the fact by bearing the family name. He 
was member of Parliament for the County of 
Fife, and constantly voted against the Union. 
An ardent Jacobite, he was 'out' in the '15 ; 
and, in consequence, was obliged to seek 


refuge in Holland with his kinsfolk the Hopes 
of Amsterdam. In the present portrait, an 
oval, he appears in the long curling wig of 
the time, with a round well-conditioned face, 
a clear-cut mouth, dimpled at the corners, and 
dark eyes and eyebrows ; the costume being 
the usual white cravat and a crimson gown 
lined with blue an opposition of positive 
colours very characteristic of Medina's work. 

The companion portrait of his wife, Mar- 
garet, eldest daughter of Ninian Lowis of 
Merchiston, is even a more successful example 
of the same painter ; indeed, we should rank 
it as, on the whole, the very best of the many 
portraits by Medina that we have examined. 
There is great dignity and beauty in the 
little head set so daintily on the slender neck, 
with the soft brown hair rising above the 
forehead, and sweeping in a great curl over 
the lady's right shoulder ; and the loose gown 
of the period crimson lined with blue, the 
rippling whiteness of the under-garments set 
against the delicate flesh-tints of the breast, 
and the blue mantle laid over the left shoulder, 
are excellently managed. 

Beneath these portraits of Sir Thomas Hope 
and his lady hangs the likeness of their son, 



Archibald Hope, younger of Craighall, and 
that of his wife, a daughter of Dr. Hugh Todd, 
both by Allan Eamsay. The former is a fair 
average specimen of the artist's male por- 
traiture, the face solidly modelled and 
thoroughly painted, if a little hard and bricky 
in the tone of its flesh. The lips are fine and 
clear-cut, the nose prominent, the eyebrows 
dark and bushy, and the head surmounted by 
a short grey wig; the dress being a grey 
velvet coat, single-breasted, and disclosing a 
blue vest embroidered with silver. Like his 
father, whom he predeceased in 1769, Archi- 
bald Hope was an enthusiastic Jacobite. In 
his turn, he was concerned in the Eebellion 
of 1745, and was present at Culloden as a 
civilian however, not as a combatant. After 
the defeat he was in imminent danger of being 
captured, and was driven to the strangest 
expedients in order to secure his safety. 
Finally, he took refuge in of all places the 
Edinburgh Tolbooth, where he was concealed 
by a friendly turnkey who had been a tenant 
on his father's estate of Rankeillour. Here he 
had the grim satisfaction of learning day by 
day of the capture of his Jacobite friends. 
' So-and-So was secured this morning, and So- 


and-So; but as for that young Hope of 
Rankeillour, we can hear nothing of him ! ' At 
length advice was received that a vessel was 
about to leave Leith for Holland, and Hope 
quietly walked away from the 'sweet security' 
of his prison, safely embarked, and was 
sheltered and befriended as his father had 
been thirty years before by his Amsterdam 

The portrait of his lady shows a portly 
dame, with rich masses of dark-brown hair, 
touched here and there with the soft gleam of 
a string of pearls, dark-brown eyes, a full 
rounded chin, and a little mouth evincing the 
most determined resolution. The colours of 
the costume, the blue ribbons and the purple 
mantle, are pleasingly harmonised with the 
dress of white satin, a dress rendered in that 
accomplished manner with which Ramsay's 
female portraits notably his full length of 
Lady Mary Coke have so often made us 
familiar. The lady was as staunch a Jacobite 
as her husband, and, to boot, a most uncom- 
promising Episcopalian, for she had been 
trained under Atterbury, who was Dean of 
Carlisle when her father was a canon. An 
amusing anecdote of her peculiarities used to 


be told by her son, the ninth baronet, to his 
daughters, who communicated the story to their 
nephew, the present owner of Pinkie. In 
advanced life, when a widow, she resided near 
her son; and he, hearing one day that his 
mother ' had somewhat against him,' resolved 
to visit her and make his peace. The inter- 
view progressed in the most satisfactory 
fashion, in the interchange of old-world 
courtesy; and Sir Archibald, thinking that 
the imperious lady was in her best of humours, 
rose to bid her adieu. But he was arrested 
by his mother remarking, in her mildest tone, 
' I Ve something to say to you, Archie, if you 
can just sit down for a minute.' His chair 
was resumed, and she continued : ' I hear, 
Archie, that you were seen in the parish kirk 
on Sunday.' Truth obliged Sir Archibald to 
admit that he had been one of the Presbyterian 
worshippers; and then she went on, still in 
her most softly modulated voice: 'I just 
wanted to tell you that if I hear you Ve been 
seen there again, the same room will never be 
able to hold you and me both.' ' Very well, 
ma'am,' rejoined the good baronet courteously, 
though with unsatisfactory indefiniteness 
taking his leave : ' But,' he used to add, in 


telling the story to his daughters, ' I never 
went to the parish kirk again, for I knew she 
would keep her word.' 

The likeness of her son, Sir Archibald, the 
ninth baronet, and his wife, are two very 
typical examples of the portraiture of David 
Martin, a pupil of Ramsay's his favourite 
pupil 'Davie' whom the master summoned 
to join him in Italy, with his drawings, 'to 
show ' the president and scholars of the Roman 
Academy ' how we draw in England.' The 
portrait of Sir Archibald exhibits the strong, 
definite, and not very refined colouring which 
characterises the male portraits of this painter. 
His sitter is clad in a brilliant scarlet coat, 
turned out with green and embroidered with 
silver at the button-holes ; and on his breast 
the Nova Scotia badge is suspended by its 
orange ribbon. The head is rounded and 
wears a short grey wig, the eyes are hazel, the 
features by no means finely chiselled, and the 
chin double. The portrait gives us a very 
good idea of the shrewd, practical personage 
that the baronet was, a worthy country 
gentleman, devoted to the improvement of his 
estates, establishing salt and coal works, and 
ruling his rude dependants in a despotic, but 


not unkindly, fashion. He was an enthusiastic 
sportsman, president of the Caledonian Hunt 
in 1789, and, in his day, kept kennels and 
stables at Pinkie. His burly figure and strong 
face were portrayed by Kay in an etching 
titled 'The Knight of the Turf/ where he 
appears, booted and spurred, leaning against 
his horse's neck. 

The portrait of Elizabeth Patoun, his second 
wife, has more of that grace which Martin 
reserved for his female likenesses. She is clad 
in filmy, greyish-white drapery, her masses of 
brown hair brushed high above her forehead, 
and falling in heavy curls round her neck and 

A few other portraits hang in the dining- 
room, representing various personages more or 
less connected with the family of Hope. Two 
of them are attributed to Jamesone; and of 
these the likeness of Jane, a daughter of the 
seventh Lord Gray, who, in 1610, married 
John, first Earl of Wemyss, is a genuine and 
characteristic example of that painter; the 
costume of black, slashed with white, being 
painted with a certain peculiar tone, a delicate 
silvery shimmer, which is like the sign-manual 
of the artist to those who are familiar with his 


work. The picture that hangs above it is 
titled on the back, certainly in error, 'Sir 
Hugh Wallace of Woolmet, Knight, about 
1630, Jamesone.' It cannot possibly be the 
work of the painter named, for the whole 
costume the long, curling, light-brown wig 
which surmounts the regular-featured, blue- 
eyed face, the large rose-coloured rosette at 
the throat, and the cravat and gown of dark 
blue figured with gold is of a period not 
earlier than the time of Charles II. Judging 
from its style, we believe it to be the work of 
a French artist. 

Of Sir Archibald Hope of Kankeillour, 
second son of Lord Craighall, raised to the 
bench as Lord Rankeillour in 1689, and 
knighted by King William, we have an in- 
teresting three-quarters length by Sir John 
Medina a picture showing him clad in red 
judge's robes, with a resolute face, strong aqui- 
line nose, a firm mouth with curved lips, hazel 
eyes, and a chin well rounded and slightly 
dimpled. In his right hand he holds advanced a 
bundle of law-papers, his left rests on a parapet, 
sustaining a vellum-bound volume, and holding 
a handkerchief; and behind are columns and 
curtains and a glimpse of landscape. 


The companion work, a seated portrait of 
his wife dressed in an elaborate costume, is 
also ascribed to Medina. Probably it is one 
of those works of which Walpole tells us that 
the painter came to Scotland ' carrying with 
him a large number of bodies and postures to 
which he painted heads.' 

To our left at the oriel window hangs an- 
other interesting portrait assigned to Medina, 
though the style both of flesh and costume is 
more suggestive of Lely. This oval picture 
shows a buxom lady, richly dressed, and with 
wide expanse of face and breast. She is Lady 
Margaret Leslie, daughter of John, fifth Earl 
of Rothes, who was successively wife to James, 
Lord Balgony ; to Erancis, Earl of Buccleuch ; 
and to David, second Earl of Wemyss; and 
from whom, accordingly, are descended the 
noble Scottish houses of Leven and Melville, 
Buccleuch, and Wemyss. 

Leaving the dining-room, we ascend the 
staircase, which is a modern part of the house, 
though the fine metal work, of hammered iron 
enriched with balls and bosses of brass, is a 
reproduction of the original balustrades. Here 
is hung an imposing gallery full-length of Sir 
John Hope, the eleventh baronet, painted, 


standing beside his charger, in the uniform of 
the Midlothian Yeomanry. It is the work of 
John Syme, R.S.A., a favourite pupil of Sir 
Henry Raeburn, who, after the death of that 
painter, completed many of his unfinished 
portraits. The present picture was commis- 
sioned of Eaeburn during his lifetime ; he had 
painted in the horse when his death occurred ; 
and the work was then taken up by his pupil 
upon a fresh canvas. It shows, like all Syme's 
productions of this period, the clearest signs 
of the influence of his master, whose style he 
somewhat weakly imitates ; its execution being 
altogether wanting in the individual force, the 
firm and definite, if rather hard, handling 
which characterises those works of Syme in 
which he is most himself, such as the 'Dr. 
John Barclay' in the National Gallery of 
Scotland. The present picture has been 
engraved in mezzotint by Thomas Hodgetts, 
in a plate of which there are two states, 
the later embodying certain changes in the 
uniform which had taken place since the 
portrait was executed. Here too hangs a 
portrait of Sir John's wife, Anne, fourth 
daughter of Sir John "Wedderburn, Bart., of 
Ballindean, by Syme, painted as a companion 


full-length, but now judiciously reduced in 

On the staircase also hang a series of 
medallion portraits in oil of the Caesars, 
executed in a rough and ready, but quite 
telling and effective fashion; works of the 
school of Rubens, and similar in general char- 
acter to the classical heads bearing the name 
of the great Flemish painter, which are well 
known through the contemporary engravings 
of Bolswert and Pontius. One medallion of 
the series, that representing Julius Caesar, was 
left at Rankeillour when the family removed 
from that house, where it is still preserved. 
The top of the staircase is decorated with two 
of the original ' Stirling Heads,' carved in oak, 
that were formerly part of the decoration of 
the King's Room in the palace of Stirling 
Castle, erected by James v. about 1529, and 
demolished in 1777. Thirty-eight of these 
heads, of which several are believed to be 
portraits of the monarch and of persons of dis- 
tinction at the time, were engraved in 'Lacunar 
Strevelinense,' a volume published by Black- 
wood in 1817, with letterpress understood to 
be from the pen of John Gibson Lockhart. 

We now pass into the library, where we 


find some excellent woed-carving, dating from 
the seventeenth or the beginning of the 
eighteenth century. Here, too, there hangs 
an interesting picture, acquired by the present 
baronet in Spain, in 1862. It is inscribed 
with a conjoined F and P, enclosed within an 
oval, the monogram of Francisco Pacheco 
(b. 1571, d. 1654), the scholarly painter of 
Seville, who was master and father-in-law of 
Velasquez, and is known also as a poet, and 
by his Treatise on Painting, published in 1649, 
which is still valued for the information it 
contains regarding Spanish artists. The 
present oblong canvas shows half-length figures 
of three saints clad in Dominican habits, and 
is carried out with all the exactitude charac- 
teristic of a painter who was appointed a 
Familiar of the Inquisition 'Inquisitor of 
Art,' in 1618, and who devoted pages of his 
erudite treatise to a ' code of rules for repre- 
senting in an orthodox manner sacred scenes 
and personages.' The saint who stands in the 
centre, with his fine attenuated face raised 
and looking upwards, is evidently St. Hyacinth, 
the evangelist of Northern Europe, who is said 
to have extended his mission from the shores 
of Scotland to China. He bears in his hands 


his proper attributes of the pix containing the 
Host, and the image of the Virgin and Child, 
in memory of his rescue of these sacred objects, 
which he snatched from the altar when his 
convent at Kiov in Russia was attacked and 
sacked by the Tartars; and then, being pursued 
by the pagans, flung himself into the rain- 
swollen waters of the Dniester, which miracu- 
lously sustained him, so that he walked across 
the river as on dry land. The female saint to 
our left, laying one hand on her heart, and 
bearing in the other a stem of blossoming 
lilies, is no less evidently St. Catherine of 
Siena; but we have not yet been able to 
identify to our satisfaction the male saint on 
the right, who bears a book and holds aloft a 
golden key from which a second, of iron, 
depends, and who, like the others, is clad in 
Dominican robes of black over white. 

Opening from the library is the Drawing- 
Room, and this apartment also is richly decor- 
ated with wood-carving, which is interesting 
in its way, though it is modern, executed by 
the carpenter on the Pinkie estate. Over the 
fireplace, let into the panelling, is the portrait 
of the founder of the family, Sir Thomas Hope } 
Lord Advocate, the first Baronet. This ' first 


stock-father' of the race was great-grandson 
of that John Hope who came to Scotland in 
attendance on Magdalene, Queen of our James 
the Fifth. He passed Advocate in 1605 ; and 
in the following year he became notable for his 
learned and spirited defence of the Presby- 
terian ministers charged with treason by the 
Crown for having attended a General Assembly 
which had been convened at Aberdeen without 
royal authority. 'Mr. Thomas Hope had 
never pleaded before the justice-clerk before/ 
says Calderwood, ' yitt nothing was wanting in 
him in that actioun, that was to be found in 
the most expert lawyer. His pleading that 
day procured him great estimatioun and manie 
clients.' In 1626 he was appointed colleague 
to Lord Advocate Sir William Oliphant, then 
old and infirm, on whose death, in 1628, he 
succeeded to the undivided honours. He 
figured prominently in the struggle initiated 
by Charles I. for the recovery of the Church 
lands in Scotland and for the establishment of 
Episcopacy in that kingdom. In his diary he 
records in most laconic fashion the Jenny 
Geddes episode in St. Giles : ' This day the 
Service book begoud to be read in the Kirks 
of Edinburgh, and was interruptid be the 


woman ' indeed, 'twas whispered, the King's 
Advocate was himself privy to the uproar, and 
had recommended to certain ' matrons ' of 
his acquaintance that 'they and their ad- 
herents should give the first affront to the 
book ; ' though he never finally cast in his lot 
with the Presbyterians, and, while maintaining 
that the Covenant of 1638 was not illegal, he 
never signed it. He prosecuted for the crown 
in the famous trial of Lord Balmerino a trial 
so momentous in its bearing upon the fate of 
Charles himself. But he was spared the sight 
of the fall and death of his royal master. He 
died 1st October 1646, while the Scots army 
was negotiating with the English Parliament 
for the surrender of the person of Charles; 
leaving behind him a solid reputation as the 
most profound Scottish lawyer of his time, 
and as one who contrived and, in his day, to 
do so required both courage and dexterity 
to be substantially true alike to his king and 
his country. The present baronet is descended 
from the eldest son of Sir Thomas Hope, and 
is accordingly head of the house of that name, 
of which the Earl of Hopetoun, being de- 
scended from the great lawyer's sixth son, 
represents a cadet branch. 


The portrait, painted by Jamesone in 1638, 
and therefore one of his later works, shows 
the seated figure, turned in three-quarters to 
the right. He appears in the prime of life, in- 
deed as a somewhat younger-looking man than 
we should have expected to find him at the 
time, when we remember that thirty-two years 
previously he had already become celebrated 
by his defence of the Presbyterian clergymen. 
His beard, moustache, and eyebrows are dark, 
the eyes dark and bluish, the face freshly 
coloured, and the nose large and prominent. 
He wears a black cap edged with white lace, 
and a black gown ; the chair is covered with 
red, and a red-covered table appears to our 
right ; his right hand rests on the arm of the 
chair, and his left holds a small red book. 

In Sir Thomas Hope's Diary, a MS. still 
preserved at Pinkie, and printed by the 
Bannatyne Club, in which among very dry 
business details we occasionally catch some 
human glimpses of the kindly, devout, super- 
stitious nature of the man, there are two 
references to his portrait by Jamesone. Under 
date of '20 July 1638, Friday,' he notes, 
' This day William Jamesoun, painter (at the 
ernest desyr of my sone, Mr. Alexander), was 


sufferit to draw my pictur ' mistaking the 
Christian name of the artist, confusing him 
with his brother, ' Williame Jamesone, writtar 
in Edinburghe ; ' and under the following 
Friday he enters, ' Item, a second draucht be 
William Jamesoun.' 

The portrait exists in various versions. A 
good one is in the possession of Thomas Bruce, 
Esq., of Arnot Tower ; others are that in the 
Parliament House, Edinburgh, and that for- 
merly in the possession of Lord Justice-Clerk 
Hope ; a bust-sized version, engraved in 
Pinkerton's Scottish Gallery, is at Hopetoun. 
and another, formerly at Rankeillour, is now 
at Luffness. 

To our left of the portrait of Sir Thomas 
Hope hangs another admirable family picture, 
which indeed may rank as the most accom- 
plished work of art that Pinkie contains. This 
is a bust portrait of Hugh Hope (b. 1782, d. 
1822) of the East India Company's Service, 
second son of the ninth Baronet, by his second 
wife. It is the work of Raeburn, and a 
masterly example of that painter, showing 
in every touch that expresses the fair hair, the 
blue eyes, the full, fresh-coloured face, and in 
the details of the crisp white ruffles, the dark 


brown coat, the yellow vest that easy power 
of swift, unlaboured, expressive brush-work, 
for which Sir Henry is unrivalled among 
Scottish painters. 

Another family portrait in this room deserves 
its word of mention, a small bust likeness 
attributed to David Martin, over a door. It 
shows the dark, keen, richly coloured face of 
Captain Archibald Hope, eldest son of the 
ninth Baronet, and half-brother of the Hugh 
Hope mentioned above. He died, a prisoner 
of Hyder Ali's, at Seringapatam, in 1782. 
According to family tradition, he was the very 
officer who was chained to Sir David (then 
Captain) Baird, and whose fate called forth 
Mrs. Baird's pitying exclamation, as she re- 
membered her son's restless and impatient 
temperament : ' Lord pity the chiel that 's 
chained to oor Davie ! ' 

On the opposite wall hangs a large and 
important Spanish picture, acquired, like the 
one in the Library, by Sir John Hope in 1862. 
It shows the Madonna, with the child on her 
knee, surrounded by circles of cherubs and 
angels ; and the chief portion of the work is 
believed to be from the brush of Juan del 
Castillo, the master of Murillo and of Alonzo 



Cano, while the larger foreground cherubs at 
the foot are attributed to Pacheco. 

We now pass to the Painted Gallery of 
Pinkie House, which forms one of the most 
characteristic, individual, and interesting of 
its features an apartment 85 feet in length, 
19 in breadth, and about 13| feet in height, 
lighted from the east side by a row of five 
windows, and from the south end by that 
noble oriel which also lights the dining-room 
below. The gallery serves the purpose of a 
kind of museum or general aesthetic lumber- 
room. On our right, along its entire length, is 
ranged a series of quaint old cabinets and 
chests, Eastern and Scottish, several of them 
displaying interesting collections of Oriental 
china ; and above them is hung a row of old 
family portraits, and portrait engravings, inter- 
spersed with casts of the large and excellently 
decorative medallions known as the ' Stirling 
Heads/ to which we have already referred; 
while on the other side, between the windows, 
are book-cases filled with venerable old tomes. 
Occupying the centre of the room is a succes- 
sion of small tables, one displaying examples 
of shells and coral, another serving as a 
kind of armoury, being covered with foils 


and rapiers and fowling-pieces of variously 
quaint and antique fashion; and the oriel 
end of the Gallery is occupied by a billiard- 

Turning to the ceiling, which is the most 
notable feature of the Gallery, we find that it 
is composed of planks of wood, each about a 
foot in breadth, running the lengthways of the 
apartment, the cove sloping upwards with a 
gentle rounded curve till it joins the flat surface 
of the roof. The wood has been covered with 
a thick white priming, which in many places 
has been left untouched, and tells as a white 
pigment in the decorative colour-scheme, in 
which black is also effectively introduced ; 
the other pigments most prominently employed 
being a light, variously gradated blue, a light 
warm yellow, green, brown, and touches of red. 
In the final sentence of his interesting and 
valuable ' Notice of the Ceiling ' (' Proceedings 
of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 
1887-88'), Mr. Seton is in error in stating 
that the roof is ' without any trace of gilding ; ' 
for gold has been employed to a considerable 
extent both in the lettering of the mottoes and 
in the high-lights of the scroll-work. The 
sides of the gallery were originally decorated 


in colour in the same manner as the ceiling, 
but this enrichment was destroyed when the 
east windows, originally dormers, were altered 
and enlarged during the last century. 

In a manner and taste characteristic of the 
period, a pseudo-architectural feeling has been 
preserved throughout the painted decorations 
of the ceiling; the aim of the artist having 
been to suggest that the roof, as it curves 
upwards, is an extension of the walls of the 
apartment, pierced on each of its sides with a 
long row of Gothic windows; though curiously 
enough, within each of these windows which 
are depicted as open to the blue sky the 
painted representation of a picture has been 
introduced, enclosed in a frame of black and 
gold, and duly suspended by a painted ring to 
a painted brass-headed nail ! 

The centre of the ceiling is occupied with 
the painted representation of a great octagonal 
dome, seen in perspective, as it would appear 
to a spectator standing on the pavement 
beneath and looking upwards. This dome is 
composed of three tiers or galleries, supported 
on columns and open to the blue sky ; and on 
the parapet of the lowest of these galleries is 
perched a company of half-naked, rosy, and 


green-winged cherubs or angels, designed with 
a considerable feeling for grace of contour and 
attitude. Most of them are busied with harps 
and other musical instruments; but one, 
daringly foreshortened, faces us bending and 
taking aim with a golden cross-bow. In the 
centre of the dome are blazoned, in full he :aldic 
colours and with their due supporters, the 
arms of that chief builder of the mansion, the 
first Earl of Dunfermline ; and eight other 
coats, for Winton, Hamilton, and various allied 
houses, are introduced in the broad band 
which surrounds the compartment a border 
white in its ground, and gracefully decorated 
with conventional scroll-work in colour, which 
might afford some excellent suggestions to our 
modern designers for needle-work. The arms 
of the ceiling have been expounded with the 
skill of a thoroughly accomplished herald by 
Mr. Seton in the paper to which we have 
already referred. Each of the four corners of 
this central compartment is occupied by a sym- 
bolical picture within a richly decorative oval 
border of a Renaissance character, like the 
greater part of the rest of the ceiling; and 
between these are Latin mottoes within oblong 


At the extreme ends of the gallery are two 
similar painted representations of the interiors 
of domes, but smaller in size and without the 
cherubic figures. 

The twelve figure-subjects which appear in 
their painted frames within the representations 
of pointed windows are rendered in a rough 
but distinctly telling manner. In their con- 
trasts and combinations of bright definite 
colouring they are thoroughly decorative in 
effect, and the figures and faces possess a good 
deal of homely truth and character. The 
countenance of the embrowned negro potentate, 
in the first compartment to our left as we 
enter the end of the gallery, may be mentioned 
as a vivid bit of characterisation attained by 
very simple means. In this subject it is 
noticeable that the background is a Venetian 
canal-scene, in which a gondola is introduced ; 
and this circumstance, along with the distinctly 
Italian character of the street-views introduced 
in other compartments, at once led me to 
assign the decorations of the ceiling to foreign 
painters. Sir John Hope informs me that the 
tradition in the family has always been that 
this was the case, that Italian workmen were 
employed upon this painted ceiling as well as 


on other parts of Pinkie. Each of the twelve 
compartments bears an explanatory Latin 
motto in black letters upon a white scroll, and 
beneath it is inscribed a further legend, in gold 
upon black. Greater value would have been 
given to Mr. Seton's paper had its author 
described these figure-subjects with such 
minuteness as should have indicated their 
connection with their double mottoes. Thus 
the compartment already referred to is sum- 
marily mentioned as 'a female figure with 
bandaged eyes, and a dark-complexioned dwarf 
at her feet.' But the female manifestly stands 
for Fortune, and the ill-favoured dwarf beside 
her wears a crown, holds a sceptre, and is clad 
in royal robes, illustrating the mottoes 'For- 
tuna non mutat genus,' and ' Bona mens omni- 
bus patet Omnes ad hoc nobiles sumus.' Again 
No. 1 7, described as ' two figures accompanied 
by dogs,' clearly represents a huntsman carrying 
off to the chase his studious friend a poet 
crowned with a laurel wreath, who casts aside 
his lyre and book, illustrating the motto 'Firma 
amicitia.' But, indeed, the limits of a single 
paper either Mr. Seton's or my own are quite 
inadequate to do full justice to this curious old 
ceiling. In these days when we have among 


us so many 'gleaners after Time,' when so 
many societies and individuals are engaged in 
exhaustively investigating the things of the 
past, we look, not without hope, for some 
adequate examination of this painted gallery 
at Pinkie. It would form an admirable and 
rewarding subject for a careful monograph, 
illustrated with accurate facsimile reproduc- 
tions in colour of the figure-compartments, 
along with such transcripts of the ornamental 
portions as should thoroughly explain the 
decorative scheme of the entire work; while 
the letterpress might profitably include a com- 
parison of the Pinkie Ceiling with the panels 
from the Guise House, Castlehill, the decora- 
tions of Dean House, executed in 1627, and 
the Nunraw ceiling portions of all of which 
are preserved in the Museum of the Scottish 
Antiquaries; as also with the decorations at 
Earlshall, Culross, and Stobhall, and those 
formerly at Collairnie Castle, and in a house 
at the High Street, Linlithgow, drawings or 
fragments of which are still preserved. Indeed 
the whole history of such decorative work in 
our country up till the period of the last 
century interior decorations in Edinburgh, 
such as those by De la Cour recently existing 


at Milton House, the similar works executed 
by the Nories, and those in the mansion 
formerly occupied by Lord President Sir 
Thomas Miller, in Brown Square, Chambers 
Street has never yet received the systematic 
investigation which it deserves. 

Several of the other ceilings at Pinkie also 
merit attention as interesting examples of old 
Scottish work in plaster. Among these is the 
ceiling of one of the bedrooms in the oldest 
part of the house, on the drawing-room floor, 
an early and rather rude, but spirited and 
individual specimen, consisting of an oval 
central decoration of conventional leafage in 
shallow relief, with a boldly projecting fruit- 
like boss, along with winged cherub heads in 
the four corners of the apartment. The richest 
and most elaborate of all is the roof of the 
' King's Room,' which is decorated with Seton 
arms and monograms, and with heavy pro- 
jecting pendants, similar to those at Winton 
Castle. There are also, among the furniture, 
certain old carved chairs which formerly be- 
longed to Addison. In a third room, opening 
from the landing of the present stair, and itself 
forming part of the original staircase, is a 
ceiling exhibiting much later work, resembling 

VOL. II. o 


some of the roofs of Charles the Second's 
time that exist at Holyrood, its monograms 
proving that it was executed while Pinkie 
was in the possession of the Tweeddale 


FROM The Scottish Leader, 14ra DECEMBER 1889 


T) OBERT BROWNING, the strong, brave, 
-*-^ white-bearded singer of our time, lies 
dead in Venice ; dead in the most magical of 
all the enchanted cities of that Italy whose 
sights and memories sound through half his 
verse, whose syllables were like music when 
he spoke them, that Italy 'my Italy' whose 
name, he said, like Queen Mary's ' Calais/ 
would be found when he died inscribed on his 
very heart of hearts. This is neither the time 
nor the place to attempt any critical estimate 
of the poetical work of this great dead man. 
Of Mr. Browning as a poet, it is enough for us 
now to say that in his vivid freshness, in his 
width of vision, and in his power of incisive 
phrase, he is the most Shakespearian English- 
man since Shakespeare ; and in no poet what- 
ever do we find more of that substantial 
intellect, that ' fundamental brain-work,' which 
even so ' aesthetic ' a singer as Dante Rossetti 
perceived and proclaimed to be ' what makes 


the difference in art,' to be the final founda- 
tion of art built to last ; intellect, of course, 
not revealing itself in dry and formal fashion, 
after the way of preacher or schoolman, but 
coming to us flushed through and through 
with personality and passion grown, in short, 

It may be said that it is only of Mr. 
Browning as a poet that we have here any 
right to speak ; and this would indeed be true 
if in the man, who ever lies behind the poet, 
there was anything it were well to hide. 

' He gave the people of his best : 
His worst he kept, his best he gave,' 

is ample, and needful, apology for the life of 
many a poet apology which is no light praise. 
But with Mr. Browning we have the happier 
case of a singer as great as his song, of an 
artist whose human personality was as digni- 
fied, as high-pitched, as was the most perfect 
product of his art. To those of us who were 
honoured by personal relations with the man 
his death is a double loss loss of poet, loss of 
noble friend. To some of us his memory, and 
the memory of our meetings with him, cannot 
but rank as among the ' crowning mercies ' of 
life ; and London will seem a distinctly poorer 


place now that the broad-browed, white-haired 
head can never again be seen in Kensington. 
Well we remember our first visit to the poet, 
more than a dozen years ago, and the impres- 
sion that his personality made on us, as he 
stood to welcome us in the wide Warwick 
Crescent drawing-room, hung with tapestry 
whose figures gave a first hint for 'Childe 
Roland,' beside the table covered with those 

' Arms of Eastern workmanship, 
Yataghan, kandjar, things that rend and rip, 
Gash rough, slash smooth, help hate so many ways,' 

which have their place in 'A Forgiveness.' 
The first dominant impression we received 
was one of weight, of indomitable strength 
so firmly was the square, short figure of this 
man of sixty planted upon its feet, so large 
was the head in its relative proportion, so 
massive every feature of his face, and especi- 
ally its broad, rounded brow. In hue, as well 
as in form, there was much that was remark- 
able, and the chord of colour struck by the 
combination of pallid flesh tints, grey hair and 
beard not yet white as we knew it later 
and clear, pale-blue, meditatively observant, 
not too widely opened eyes was a thing to 
remember. But, mark, the silvery pallor of 


the skin had in it no hint of feebleness, no 
touch of the possible invalid ; for Mr. Brown- 
ing was a man who practically never endured 
a day of ill-health. It may have been due 
to his prolonged residence beneath the sun of 
Italy; it certainly gave a foreign suggestion 
to his aspect. It may have been the visible 
record of some remote strain in his ancestry ; 
for though his father was English and his 
mother Scottish, widely varied nationalities 
are authentically traceable among his remote 
ancestors : the far East and the West both 
brought their gifts to this poet, and mingled 
their currents in the blood that fed his brain 
the brain that moved his pen. The suavity 
of the poet's manner, its sedulous and con- 
siderate courtesy was unfailing. A sense of it 
grew upon one with each succeeding visit ; the 
visits when, in more intimate mood, one would 
be taken downstairs to the sanctum, where 
stood the table-desk that was this workman's 
anvil ; and one rare volume and another 
would be produced from the shelves of old 
Italian carved wood Greek volumes that had 
been ' hers,' he said, or that first, Latin edition 
of Gebir, inscribed in Lander's autograph 
'To Robert Browning's son.' Pre-eminently 


among present-day poets Mr. Browning was 
one who in his own phrase ' lived, and liked 
life's way ; ' none was ever more absolutely 
abreast of his times, none more keenly per- 
ceptive of the good things that life affords 
to-day, in this presently existent London of 
ours. There was no better-known figure in 
society than his, none more inevitable at the 
Academy private view, none more constant on 
Lyceum first-nights. You had a hint of the 
easily-moving man of polished society in this 
poet's very aspect, in the very comeliness of 
his garments, the lustre of his linen, the sheen 
of his seemly broadcloth, the perfect polish of 
the watch-chain and its pendant pencil, all in 
curious contrast to the investiture of the typical 
poet, a type to which, in this respect, 'tis said, 
a most eminent surviving singer closely 
approximates. And it speaks well for Mr. 
Browning's strength, both as man and artist, 
that neither man nor work suffered from 
friction with fashionable life, that to apply a 
phrase he himself used, warningly, to a poet 
friend of ours he did not ' derogate.' This 
was a man thoroughly at home amid the 
pleasant nicker of the street lamps ; but never 
for one moment did he lose consciousness of 



the steadfast, impending stars. It was on the. 
very day that his new volume was published 
that he died ; and the latest that we know of 
him is that he had expressed pleasure at the 
message, flashed over seas, telling of the warm 
reception the book had already won. So he 
died, heart and soul in his work to the last, as 
man's heart and soul should be. The final 
poem of this final volume has in it something 
strangely prophetic. Never has truer estimate 
of this poet, and of his heartening human 
message, been made than in its words : 

' One who never turned his back, but marched breast 


Never doubted clouds would break, 
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong 

would triumph, 

Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, 
Sleep to wake.' 

And those who loved this man must listen to 
his counsel as he tells his friends, when he is 
dead, to 

' Greet the unseen with a cheer ! 
Bid him forward, breast and back as either should be, 
"Strive and thrive ! " cry "Speed, fight on, fare ever 
There as here ! " ' 


FROM The Children's Guide, APRIL 1890 


fTlHIS month we pass from France to ' the 
-*- Peninsula ; ' and have to look at the 
portrait of a little Spanish prince, painted by 
Velasquez, an artist, who in technical power 
in power, that is to say, of laying on colour 
properly and effectively was one of the very 
greatest that ever painted. No artist has been 
able to make each single touch that he set on 
the canvas do more towards expressing the 
features of a face or the folds of a dress than 
did Velasquez ; no man's pictures give one so 
perfect an impression of there being air in 
them ; of there being space between you that 
look at the picture and the painted figures at 
which you look; of there being also space 
between the nearer of the painted figures and 
those figures or objects that stand behind 
them. And these qualities, which I have 
required a long sentence to tell you about, 
would be indicated by a painter in some three 


or four words. He would just say that 
Velasquez is great in ' towh,' in ' tone,' in ' rela- 
tion,' in ' atmosphere ' ; and these few words 
would indicate rather more than my many 
words have done. So you see it is quite 
worth while for you to learn the meaning of 
the ' technical phrases ' that painters are accus- 
tomed to use ; for though it takes some trouble 
to 'get them up,' yet, when you really do 
know them, they save much trouble in the 
end. They enable you to express your mean- 
ing directly and without any fuss, and save 
you from going round about to join together 
many ordinary words so as to express, at 
best clumsily, what a 'technical phrase' ex- 
presses concisely, expresses neatly and at once. 
When we were speaking last month about 
Chardin, we said that the society which sur- 
rounded him was, much of it, a gay, frivolous 
society, but that he himself painted the more 
sober and quiet part of that society. He 
painted the middle-class people, who stayed at 
home except when they went to the shop or 
market, and whose pleasures were very quiet 
and domestic pleasures. But in Spain, where 
Velasquez worked, things were different indeed. 
' The gay land of France,' we say ; but when 


we think of Spain, somehow, dark historical 
memories cross our minds ; memories of the 
Inquisition, and of the tortures of Jews and 
Moors, and thoughts of bull-fights, and of the 
Armada with slaves rowing the galleys that 
carried shackles meant for Englishmen's wrists. 
And we are apt to call Spain ' the grim land, 
the land of ferocity and gloom.' But then, to 
all this there is what you may call ' the other 
side of the medal.' 

Just as France has its virtues of gaiety and 
light-heartedness, to set against its frivolity 
(and ' a merry heart goes all the day,' as the 
old song says, and is a right good thing to 
have), so Spain was distinguished by gravity 
and dignity, as well as clouded by gloom. 
And the expression of this dignity is one of 
the very things that strike you most in the 
portraits of Velasquez. He painted very little 
else besides portraits ; and you never in your 
life saw such gravity, such dignity, such 
quietude on the faces of any painted portraits 
as on those that shine out so softly from the 
canvases of Velasquez. Just look at the little 
Prince who comes to meet us this month; 
what solemnity sits beneath that far too lofty 
brow ! One is ready to say of him, as St. 


Christopher said of that Divine Child whom 
he carried, and whose weight was like to sink 
the giant in the flood that he was crossing, 
'0 child, child ! surely thou bearest the weight 
of all the world upon thy shoulders ! ' 

The weight of a great slice of the world at 
any rate this royal infant had every prospect 
of carrying : but ' wisest fate said " No ; " ' for 
before his sixteenth year he had become what 
one of our old dramatists calls ' a dweller in 
the high countries.' He was the son of Philip 
iv., king of Spain, the ' captain ' of ' that huge 
vessel of state ' which had ' its prow in the 
Atlantic and its stern in the Indian Ocean,' 
so vast was the domain of which he was 
master. This king was a most accomplished 
monarch, and the great patron of Velasquez. 
He could paint, act, write, and make music. 
He could do every thing, in fact, but rule and 
he ' the man born to be king ' ! How sad that 
he was not also bred to be king. 

Well, this dignified and accomplished, but 
not truly kingly, monarch was wedded to 
Isabel of France, sister of our own Queen 
Henrietta Maria, the wife of the English king, 
Charles I. And King Philip and his Queen 
greatly desired a son to succeed to the throne 


of their vast dominions. And after ten years 
of waiting this little son, whom we see painted 
here, was born. And such joy there was over 
his coming, such ringing of bells, such kindling 
of bonfires, you may be sure ! And Velasquez, 
the Court painter, was sent for, and he painted 
Prince Balthasar Carlos as ' The Child,' and 
later as ' The Little Rider,' and as ' The Little 
Sportsman,' finally as ' The Little Wooer,' in 
pictures that were sent as presents to the 
friendly courts of Europe. In about his fif- 
teenth year he was betrothed to Mariana of 
Austria; but shortly afterwards he caught a 
chill which ended his life. Not till fifteen 
years later did another son, the child of his old 
age, come to Philip a poor, feeble, ill-grown 
child, who afterwards became the miserable 
and weak-minded Charles II. of Spain. 

If you like this portrait by Velasquez, I shall 
give another example of his work in a future 
number, and will then tell you something 
more about the painter's life. 









T SUPPOSE that we are all agreed you, my 
-*- audience, and I, the lecturer I suppose 
we are all agreed that the pleasure which we 
derive from a work of art, from a picture or 
a drawing, depends in great measure upon 
our knowledge of and interest in the subject 
which the artist has set himself to depict. 
So that, other things being equal, he who 
has most deeply loved, most closely studied, 
nature, will be best able to appreciate the 
efforts of the landscapist; so that he who 
knows best and has most sympathy with the 
life which rustic labourers lead beneath the 
open sky, will be most strongly attracted by 
the solemn pastorals of the French Millet ; so 
that Orchardson will speak most clearly to 
those of us who are most in touch with the 
refined comedy which verges, now and then, 
on tragedy of present day and last century 
manners among the cultured classes. 


But besides this knowledge of, and sympathy 
with, the thing depicted, we derive yet another 
kind of pleasure from art, a pleasure which 
comes from our knowledge of the means which 
the artist has employed, a pleasure which lies 
in our perception of the adaptation of the 
artist's method to the object which he has in 
view. It is mainly this interest, this pleasure, 
which I would like you to consider with me 
for a little to-night; dealing for the present 
with only one department of art, that of 
engraving on metal. 

All art is, at best, a compromise Nature 
is infinite; the artist's brain, and the tools 
that he holds in his hand and what he can 
do with these, are severely circumscribed and 
limited. At the most, he can only arrange 
and select this and that out of the abundance 
that surrounds him ; catching here and there 
a stray sparkle of the radiancy that floods the 
face of visible things. For instance, this 
whole art of engraving starts with a 'great 
refusal.' At the very outset it frankly con- 
fesses that it is beyond its power to represent 
the colour of nature, this it at once resigns 
as beyond its possible scope. And we, in 
looking at an engraving, at once recognise 


the limitation, the compromise, admit the 
inability of engraving to render, though it 
can suggest, the varied colours of nature ; and 
set ourselves to enjoy those other qualities of 
natural things which the engraving has been 
able to cope with, and which, accordingly, it 
has rendered. 

Now, as all engraving starts with this 
great limitation the want of colour, so each 
special branch of engraving, line-engraving, 
etching, mezzotint, and the rest, has its own 
individual limitations, as well as its own 
special aptitudes; and these limitations and 
aptitudes condition the art, determine the 
particular aspects of nature and visible things 
which each branch of engraving is best fitted 
to render. 

I propose, then, to examine, in order, the 
great methods of metal engraving ; to describe, 
as simply and clearly as I can, their technique 
the materials, tools, and methods by means 
of which they work; and to illustrate the 
manner in which these instruments and 
methods affect the result arrived at by the 

Engraving, in the restricted sense in which 
we are now considering it, engraving executed 


on metal for the purpose of being inked and 
yielding impressions when stamped on paper, 
arose, gradually and naturally, out of the 
decorative enrichment of metal plates by 
means of incised lines. The goldsmiths of 
the fourteenth and fifteenth century were in 
the habit of producing works of niello, that 
is to say, metal plates intended for various 
decorative purposes, on which designs were 
inscribed with the graver, these lines being 
afterwards filled with a permanent black 
enamel, composed of silver, sulphur, borax, etc. 
Before filling their lines in this manner, the 
niellatori were in the habit of proving their 
work by means of impressions on wet clay, 
from which a sulphur cast was taken; and 
Maso Finiguerra, a famous goldsmith of 
Florence, is the first who is known to have 
inked and stamped his design upon paper, 
and so to have laid the foundations of metal 
engraving. The particular work which he 
so used was a Pax, or metal plate intended 
for receiving and communicating the ecclesias- 
tical kiss of peace, made for the Church of San 
Giovanni in Florence, in 1452, which is still 
preserved in the Eoyal Gallery there. The 
method was adopted by other goldsmiths, and 


several hundred of niello impressions, taken 
in this manner, have come down to us. 

Soon metal plates began to be produced, not 
merely as decorative objects, but for the ex- 
press purpose of yielding reversed impressions 
when inked and printed upon paper; and 
these plates were executed by various methods. 
There was, for instance, the maniere cribUe, or 
dotted manner, in which the design seems to 
have been expressed by many successive blows 
with a punch ; and there was engraving in 
relief on metal ; but, before long, all these 
curious processes, which need not here delay 
us, were abandoned for the grand, simple 
method known as Line-engraving. 

In this method a plate of metal, usually and 
preferably a plate of copper, is employed ; and 
into the smooth, highly-polished surface of 
this copper the design is cut with the instru- 
ment known as the burin or graver, a prism- 
shaped bar of steel, with a rounded handle, 
which rests in the engraver's hand, the motion 
being applied by means of his palm, and 
directed by his thumb and forefinger, which 
rest on either side of the graver, towards its 
point. This graver, as it moves over the 
metal, dislodges a thin strip of the copper, and 



the furrow thus produced may be widened or 
deepened by successive cuts, the slight ridge 
or ' bur ' that is raised being cleared away with 
the scraper. When the whole design has been 
incised on the metal in this manner, the plate 
is inked and then wiped, and passed through 
a printing-press, in contact with a damp sheet 
of paper, upon which the pressure transfers 
the ink that has remained in the lines sunk 
into the metal surface. 

Now it is out of its technical processes, out 
of its tools and materials and the mode in 
which these are used, that the special artistic 
aptitudes of line-engraving arise. As we have 
said, the graver is pushed forward on the metal 
with the palm of the hand, not held in the 
most obviously natural way that is, held 
freely between the fingers, as a pencil is held 
and drawn with. Consequently it is a far 
less spontaneous, a far more laborious method 
of engraving than such a process as etching 
(to be afterwards described) in which the 
instrument used is held in the natural and 
ordinary way. The burin cannot follow im- 
mediately and instinctively ti.e will of the 
engraver, or respond by a sudden waywardly 
curving line to his momentary impulse. The 


line-engraver must think well of what he is 
about to do, resolve thoroughly on what he is 
to represent ; and then drive home his line 
with premeditated certainty, broadening it, if 
need be, with repeated cuts at its edges. Line- 
engraving, too, is the most laborious of all 
engraver's methods. Four or five years is no 
uncommon period for a master to be employed 
upon an elaborate plate ; and to attain even 
moderate skill requires not only great natural 
aptitude, but years of well-directed training 
and of unwearied application. The process, 
therefore, from the time which it necessitates, 
and from its want of immediate and visible 
response to the impulse of the artist, is not 
one that lends itself to direct work from 
nature ; and, from the long practice which its 
technique requires, line-engraving has naturally 
fallen gradually into the hands of a special 
class of artists, who have devoted themselves 
to that method, and practically to that alone. 

Line-engraving then we may style, par excel- 
lence, the classic mode of engraving; that 
which sets before itself clearly defined, well- 
restricted aims, and compasses these perfectly. 
Its highest function lies in translating into 
black and white, by the most careful, finished, 


and accomplished method, the great master- 
pieces of the painter's art. 

Line-engravers, as we have said, are now a 
special class of artists, devoted to this kind of 
artistic work, and, practically, to this alone. 
But the early engravers, both in Italy and 
Germany, those who succeeded the goldsmiths 
that originally discovered the process, were, 
almost to a man of them, painters as well. 
In the South there were Botticelli and Baldini, 
Fra Lippi, and Eobetta; and here the early 
school culminates in the great personality of 
Marc Antonio, who reproduced the designs of 
Raphael, under the superintendence of the 
master's eye, and aided by his manual revision. 
In the North, the most eminent of the archaic 
practitioners of the art were Martin Schongauer 
and Van Mecken, who were followed by Albert 
Diirer and Lucas van Leyden. But the aims 
of these early painter-engravers, as most of 
them were, of North and South Europe, were 
far simpler than the aims which their successors 
set before them. The earlier men did not 
attempt to copy their own painted works or 
those by other artists. They simply set them- 
selves to produce a drawing on the copper, 
which when printed on paper could be widely 


circulated ; and these prints, as we know from 
various entries in Durer's Diary in the Nether- 
lands, were sold as occasion offered by the 
engravers themselves. But as engravers gradu- 
ally came to be a distinct class of artists, whose 
business it was to translate into black and 
white pictures painted by another hand, their 
aims became more complex. The earlier men 
simply represented form, outline, and the shades 
within that outline which served to express 
modelling; and, occasionally, they suggested 
some obvious facts of texture. But the later 
engravers, working from pictures, invented a 
whole elaborate system of tonality to represent 
various weights of colour. Thus, if they were 
engraving a blue mantle over a yellow dress, 
the former would be darker throughout than 
the latter ; while Durer, and such men as he, 
if engaged upon a similar task, would simply 
have expressed both by white paper, giving 
dark lines only to render the folds, and the 
shadows which these cast. 

Of this elaborate method of engraving in 
colour-tones we have admirably bold examples 
in the portraits by Peter Soutman, Cornelius 
van Dalen, and other seventeenth century en- 
gravers of the Low Countries, and by such men as 


Nauteuil, Edelinck, and Masson, who were their 
contemporaries in France. (I may mention, 
in passing, that the productions of this great 
school of seventeenth century and eighteenth 
century line-engravers, are particularly well re- 
presented by a series of prints now on view in 
the larger upper room in the Scottish National 
Portrait Gallery.) The influence of this school 
was felt very distinctly in England, men like 
John White, William Faithorne, and David 
Loggan founded their work very definitely 
upon continental practice, and they have left 
behind them an impressive multitude of en- 
graved portraits, frequently done from the 
engraver's own drawing made from the life, 
portraits which possess the utmost interest as 
preserving the authentic features of noted 
Englishmen of the seventeenth century. 

The subjects of the French figure-painters 
of the eighteenth century were almost as ade- 
quately translated into light and shade by such 
line-engravers as Le Bas, Laurent Cars, and 
Bernard Lepicie, as those of the portraitists 
had been; and in England, in the same century, 
Sir Robert Strange, a native of Orkney, pro- 
duced dignified transcripts from Vandyck, 
from Raphael, and from the Post-Raphaelite 


Italians; while in the succeeding century 
Abraham Eaimbach, the London-born son of 
a Swiss, and John Burnet, a native of Edin- 
burgh, engraved admirable renderings of the 
genre subjects of our Scottish Wilkie. 

It was, however, in landscape that the 
English school of line-engraving attained its 
highest point. William Woollett, born 1735, 
worked excellently in line after Claude and 
Richard Wilson, catching with much quietude 
of method the silvery calm, the delicate gra- 
dation of classical scenes of smooth lake or 
stream overhung by breadth of placid sky, and 
proving himself not quite unfit to cope with 
these painters in the rarer moments when 
they portrayed the face of nature convulsed 
by storm. But before the century had closed 
Turner had arisen ; and a new school of 
landscape engravers, possessed of new and 
more varied skill, was needed for the inter- 
pretation of his extended view of nature, in 
all its range, in all its infinitude of detail. 
First came Basire, and the other members of 
the already existing school of line-work, who 
engraved the more restricted subjects of 
Turner's earliest period; but by 1814 George 
and W. B. Cook were at work, in admirably 


masculine fashion, upon Turner's 'Southern 
Coast' water-colours; and by 1824 William 
Miller, their pupil (our late townsman), had 
produced his exquisitely delicate 'Clovelly' 
from the same series. The 'England and 
Wales/ the ' Provincial Antiquities,' the ' Pic- 
turesque Tour in Italy,' the Rogers' 'Italy' 
and 'Poems/ the 'Annual Tours/ the works 
of 'Byron' and 'Scott/ and many larger 
single plates followed, the work of most 
accomplished engravers, like Wallis, W. B. 
Smith, Willmore and Brandard, combining 
etchings freely introduced in the more delicate 
portions of the plates, and using the burin 
line with a freedom which has never been 
surpassed, which has never even been 
approached except by the portrait-engravers 
of France to whom I have already referred. 
Among them all there was no more successful 
artist than William Miller, Turner's favourite 
engraver, whether on the inch-scale of a 
' Eogers' ' vignette, or on the more extended 
space of plates like 'The Grand Canal' or 
'The Rhine/ 'Osterprey/ and 'Feltzen.' In 
the hands of these great artists the school of 
English landscape engraving in line culmin- 
ated ; with their death it ended. 


We now pass to the second kind of en- 
graving with which we have to deal, and 
come to consider the technical processes of 
Etching. Here the material upon which the 
etcher works is a plate of polished copper; 
but he does not, like the line-engraver, at 
once attack the bare metal surface with a 
pointed and cutting instrument. In etchings 
the plate is first coated with a film of mixed 
white wax, bitumen, pitch and resin, a com- 
position capable of resisting the action of acid. 
This etching-ground, as it is called, is kneaded 
into a ball and enclosed in a piece of silk. 
The copper is then heated over a spirit-lamp ; 
and as the ball is passed gently over its 
warmed surface, the ground melts, oozes 
through the silk, and is deposited in a thin 
transparent coating on the shining copper 
surface. It is next necessary to blacken this 
film of ground, in order that the etcher's line 
may be visible to him as he works ; and this 
having been done by exposure to the smoke 
of a wick, the plate is ready to be drawn upon. 
The piece of steel which I now hold in my 
hand is the etching needle, its thick handle 
giving sufficient weight of metal to ensure an 
equal pressure of its point. With this needle, 



held as a pencil is held, the design is drawn 
through the surface of smoke-blackened 
ground, but not at all or, at any rate, as 
little as may be into the copper. In its 
passage the point removes the black surface, 
and discloses an exquisitely delicate line of 
the shining copper beneath. I have no words 
beautiful enough to describe this line, so 
free is it, so graceful, so full of refinement and 
spirit, so infinitely and subtly varied, as 
though it responded at once to the artist's 
very thought rather than to his mere hand. 
Shall we imagine some superb, rosy, Venetian 
beauty with a wealth of ardently golden hair ; 
and fancy that, out of all this lady's cluster- 
ing wealth of yellow tresses, one single thread 
has fallen upon her robe of blackest velvet, 
and lies there, fine beyond words, and full of 
flowing curvature, yet in the midst of its 
long-drawn tensity perfectly, definitely 
golden still ? Well, you have there some- 
thing, for grace, and lightness, and freedom, 
that you may think of along with the 
etching-needle's line, as it lies shining upon 
the blackened copper. And remember that 
all this freedom and exquisite grace is pre- 
served by the line when it has been bitten by 


acid into the copper, and when, again, by 
means of printer's ink, it has been transferred 
to paper. 

The next step is to bite the plate ; and 
this is effected, after protecting its back and 
sides by a coating of Brunswick black, by 
immersing it in a bath of nitric acid mixed 
with an equal volume of water, which attacks 
and corrodes the lines of the copper exposed 
by the passage of the etching needle through 
the varnished ground. When the lightest 
lines of the design have been bitten of a 
sufficient depth, the plate is removed from the 
acid-bath ; these lines are protected by being 
covered with Brunswick black, the plate is 
returned to the bath, and the rest of its lines 
are subjected to continued biting; and this 
process of ' stopping-out ' is repeated as often 
as necessary, for the deeper the lines are bitten 
the more ink they retain in printing, and, 
consequently, the blacker is the impression 
which they yield. Finally, the plate is 
removed from the bath, the ground of 
blackened varnish is cleared away with tur- 
pentine, and the lines are found incised on 
the copper surface, in varying depths, accord- 
ing to the longer or shorter periods during 


which they have been exposed to the action 
of the acid. The plate is now ready to have 
the printer's ink applied to its surface; and, 
after the metal has been warmed above a spirit- 
lamp, this is done by means of a cloth dabber, 
the superfluous ink being removed with canvas, 
softer cloths, and, finally, with the palm of the 
hand ; and, in the case of their choicest proofs, 
Mr. Whistler, and all the best etchers, like them- 
selves to do the inking and printing. Do 
you remember that grand old story of the 
hero who was set to fight a loathly dragon- 
worm of the sea ? And he dived through the 
billows into the creature's den, and smote there, 
fiercely and frantically with his sword, and yet 
no least dint appeared on the scaly form. And 
he smote again, and yet more mightily ; and 
his blade only shivered into atoms against the 
adamantine hide. And then, at last, he cast 
buckler and weapon alike aside, and grappled 
the creature with his naked hands, and flung 
the whole weight of his human body prostrate 
upon the writhing coils, and crushed the 
dragon-worm to death, and so gat him the 
victory. The legend, the fable, has a profound 
significance, a true and deep bearing upon 
human life, and upon every sphere of human 


endeavour and upon none more definitely 
than upon art. Here, above all, the impress 
of the artist's personality, the naked touch of 
the very man, is the one supreme and sovereign 
thing. See how constantly the law holds 
good ; how it runs into the minutest things ; 
how even in the inking of an etched copper- 
plate you must use your hand, if you would do 
your very best. And your hand must be no 
hard or horny one. Mr. Hamerton, I think 
it is he, tells us that the ideal instrument for 
the purpose would be 'the velvet hand of a 

Well, to return to our etched copper-plate. 
Having been wiped, the ink remains in its 
lines, and only there and on such portions of 
the flat surface of the plate as have been 
definitely selected for that purpose by the 
etcher and printer. The plate is next passed 
through the printing-press, with a piece of 
damp paper in contact with it ; and the ink is 
thus transferred to the paper from the etched 
lines and from those portions of the smooth 
metal surface upon which the ink has been 
allowed to remain. 

Now, from what I have said about the 
technical processes of etchings, about the 


special qualities of the etched line; how it 
can be laid with a speed possible to no other 
engraved line ; how it combines crisp clearness 
with delicacy, sensitiveness, and flexibility to 
a degree attained by no other line available 
to the artist, it follows that etching is the 
supreme engraver's method for sketching ; the 
one method, with results capable of multipli- 
cation by the printing-press, which lends it- 
self inherently and obviously to rapid memor- 
anda of natural effects, to swift studies of 
passing human gesture and expression. An 
etching may be 'finished/ as the phrase is, 
but the best etchings have not been; they 
deal with few lines; but, in the hands of a 
master of the Art, each of these is laid with 
unerring precision, with the finest selection, 
each is made to express the very most that a 
single line can possibly express, each tells us 
as much as possible of the personal impression 
produced upon the etcher by the scene or the 
figure that was before him. 

First, and above all things, etching is a 
personal art, expressive of the individuality 
of the artist, and expressing this directly and 
immediately without any thought at all of 
prettiness, or of finish for the mere sake of 


finish. I have called line-engraving the 
classic form of the art classic in its quietude, 
in the ordered patience of its methods, in the 
natural subordination of its practitioner to the 
mind of the artist who furnished the painting 
or design which by slowly acquired skill, 
applied with the patience of long-continued 
effort, the line-engraver slowly transcribes. 
And so, too, etching in its speed and its 
sensitiveness, the mind of him who holds its 
needle visibly governing every line of it, as 
the morning wind governs the films of cloud 
that drift before it, so etching may be styled 
the romantic method of engraving, the method 
in which the personality of the artist is most 
fully disclosed ; an art delightful indeed when 
its technique has been fully grasped and has 
become the obedient exponent of the artist's 
personality, and when that personality which 
the technique reveals is a worthy one ; an 
art, let it be added, unparalleled among the 
methods of engraving in the facilities it affords 
for insensitive blundering, one in which the 
blunderer, especially if he be a bold one, may, 
with quite extreme celerity, ' write himself 
down an ass.' For the facility of a process 
serves only the man of skill. To him it is the 


swift chariot that bears him speedily to his 
goal ; to the tyro the facility of a process is no 
more than a trap, a means of speedy cata- 

The process of etching was used by Diirer in 
some of the later of his prints ; but Kem- 
brandt (1607-1669) is the first master who 
extensively employed the method ; and in the 
extent, variety, and power of his work un- 
doubtedly the greatest etcher that ever lived. 
Ostade and other Dutch painters also etched 
with great skill, and there are some noble 
plates by Claude, preserving much of that 
delicacy of sky-effects that is characteristic of 
his painted landscapes. Vandyck etched the 
heads of a series of portraits, which are greatly 
prized for their simple and direct manner, and 
fetch large prices in the states before the work 
of the tame engravers that completed them 
had been added ; and in our own country in 
Charles l.'s time Hollar produced an im- 
mense number of plates of very high quality. 
Up to the middle of the present century the 
process, in its right direction and true capa- 
bilities, was wellnigh lost, till its revival in 
France by that great genius Meryon, and by 
men like Lalanne, Braquemond, Daubigny, 


Appian, and Charles Jacque ; while in our 
own country the most fresh and delightful 
etched plates have been produced by Mr. 
Whistler, a Paris-trained American painter, 
and by Seymour Haden, a London surgeon in 
large practice, who, in an enforced withdrawal 
from professional labour, took to the process as 
a pastime, and produced work acknowledged 
on all hands as among the most spirited and 
excellent ever done. 

But in addition to original work from 
nature, much has been done in recent years in 
reproductive etching ; and quite a distinct 
professional class of etchers has arisen working 
from the pictures painted by other men. In 
the hands of thoroughly accomplished etchers 
like Flaming, Waltner, Eajon, and, I may add, 
our own countryman, Mr. Hole, the results 
have been most successful, and have proved 
the capabilities of the art as a method of en- 
graving possessing greater spirit and freedom 
of line, greater volume of blackness in its 
shadows, than is at the command of line- 
engraving. The reproductive etcher works in 
truest sympathy with the especial capabilities 
of his process when he does not attempt to 
follow slavishly the original before him, when 

VOL. ii. T 


he does not copy it, tone for tone, like the 
line-engraver, trusting for his impression on 
the spectator to general effect at a distance 
when each individual line has been lost sight 
of, and when all have blended into various 
gradated tints, but rather when he emphasises 
his line frankly and obviously, giving a free 
translation of what in the picture can be most 
tellingly caught by that special artistic means 
which he is employing. 

We now pass to consider the third method 
of engraving, namely, Dry-point. Here, again, 
as was the case in Line-engraving, no acid is 
used ; the artist begins at once upon his bare 
plate of polished copper. His implement is 
an etching-needle, ground with rather more of 
a cutting edge than is possessed by the rounded 
point used for work to be afterwards bitten 
with the acid. With this sharpened needle, 
held much like a pencil, the dry-pointer 
scratches his design into the copper. The 
result of this scratching is to tear an incised 
line in the metal, and to throw up on either 
side of this line a ridge or ' bur ' of displaced 
copper, which in this process is not cut out and 
removed entirely, or all but entirely, as was 
the case when the burin of the line-engraver 


was employed. Now Dry-point can be used 
in two different, and indeed directly opposite 
manners either with or without the 'bur.' 
When the ' bur ' is left on the surface of the 
plate, it catches the ink as the plate is being 
wiped, thickens the line by the addition of a 
dark ridge on either side of it, and prints a 
rich velvety black. In this it resembles 
Mezzotint (a process I shall presently de- 
scribe), but with one important difference, that 
gradation is exceedingly difficult to obtain in 
dry-point, but perfectly easy and natural in 
mezzotint. Dry-point with the bur, accord- 
ingly, when used in harmony with the specific 
aptitudes of the process, must depend not on 
subtle and delicate gradation like mezzotint, 
but upon emphasis and brilliancy, upon sharp 
effective contrasts of the full velvety blackness 
of the printing-ink with the clear, shining 
high-lights of the white, untouched paper. 
But dry-point may be used u-ithout the bur, and 
delicate half-tints may be introduced into a 
dry-point plate by scratching slightly with the 
needle, and then removing the ridge of bur 
with a scraper. 

As the dry-point line is produced by scratch- 
ing into the copper, it falls far short of the 


freedom of the etched line, which passes with- 
out the slightest obstacle through a mere film 
of varnish ; nor does it possess an aptitude 
for describing wide, calm, sweeping curves, 
like the line of the burin, whose prism-shaped 
edge is pushed forward, and cuts out its strip 
of metal cleanly. Accordingly the most typical 
use of dry-point with the bur removed is for 
sharp touches, short lines, by means of which 
tone is attained, and delicate modelling is 

A complete account of metal-engraving 
would include consideration of the process of 
Stipple, familiar to you in Bartolozzi's prints, 
and of the process of Aquatint, but neither 
process is now much employed ; and we must 
pass to the last important method of engraving 
to which I shall ask your attention to-night 
to Mezzotint. Here the metal plate is not at- 
tacked at once with the engraver's instrument, 
nor is it prepared for the engraver's use by 
being covered with a ground of varnish. The 
polished plate of metal is worked all over with 
a tool, styled a ' rocker,' which has the effect 
of tearing up its entire surface into innumer- 
able minute depressions, and into innumer- 
able minute points or elevations, formed by 


the metal raised out of these depressions, and 
the roughness so produced is termed the 'bur.' 
The effect of this treatment is, that if the 
plate were inked and passed through the 
printing-press in contact with a damp sheet of 
paper, this paper would be stained of a uniform 
black tint. When the plate has been thus 
roughened, it is ready to be handed to the 
mezzotinter, who grasps his scraper, a sharp- 
edged instrument, and gradually scrapes away 
the ' bur,' in proportion as he wishes to intro- 
duce light into his engraving. In the portions 
that are intended to print quite white, that 
are to be the highest lights of his engraving, 
he removes the whole of the raised points 
or bur : in those portions that are to print 
black and be the deepest shadows of his en- 
graving, he allows the bur to remain quite 
untouched ; and so on, proportionately, in the 
intermediate parts, between highest light and 
deepest shadow. In this way the engraver 
is able to work with the greatest delicacy 
and precision of gradation, from the full 
darks of the loaded printer's ink, to the 
perfect white yielded by the paper which 
bears no stain of ink at all. Accordingly, 
the especial qualities of a mezzotint are 


richness, delicate gradation, and that painter- 
like quality which from the mezzotinter 
being able to work, just as the painter 
himself worked, by means of tints and 
spaces, and not by the more conventional 
means of lines, as is the case in most other 
kinds of engraving. 

It was long believed that the method of 
mezzotint was discovered by Prince Rupert 
Rupert the dashing cavalier, the hero of a hun- 
dred fiery charges, who was almost as deeply 
interested in scientific pursuits as in the noble, 
the deadly, art of war. More recent research, 
however, has shown that the invention was 
due to Ludwig von Siegen, son of a German 
by a Spanish mother, born at Utrecht in 1609. 
In 1642 he completed the portrait of Amelia 
Elizabeth, widow regent of Hesse-Cassel, 
which he forwarded to the young Landgrave 
Wilhelm VI., with a letter indicating his 
method of engraving, in which ' only small 
points and not a single line can be perceived.' 
In 1654 Von Siegen was in Brussels, and 
there he communicated the process to Prince 
Rupert, who himself scraped some fifteen 
plates. One of these is given in the ' Sculptura ' 
of John Evelyn, where that author informs us 


that the Prince 'was pleased to cause the 
instruments to be expressly fitted, to show me 
with his own hands how to conduct and 
manage them on the plate/ and professes 
himself ' willing sub sigillo, and by his High- 
ness's permission, to gratify any curious and 
worthy person with a full and perfect demon- 
stration of the entire art ' of this method of 
'graving without a graver, burin, point, or 
aquafortis.' The process was very admirably 
used in Holland, notably by Abraham Bloote- 
ling. Among its earliest practitioners in 
England were Sir Christopher Wren, the 
architect, and Francis Place, born at Durham 
in 1650; while the innumerable plates by 
John Smith are both excellent technically, and 
of interest as preserving the portraiture of the 
most prominent seventeenth century English- 
men. Towards the close of the eighteenth 
century the art attained the highest excellence 
in our country, and acquired that title of ' the 
English method' by which mezzotint is fre- 
quently known abroad. It was used by men 
like William Pether and Richard Earlom to 
reproduce the works of Eembrandt, whose 
concentrated lighting and broad simple distri- 
bution of shadow was admirably fitted for 


translation into black and white by mezzotint; 
and Earlom also employed the process with 
marvellous delicacy in reproducing the elabor- 
ate flower-pieces of the Dutch painters of still- 
life. Next there arose the noble school of 
mezzotint-engravers that rendered the portraits 
of Sir Joshua Reynolds, including Raphael 
Smith, William Dickenson, Valentine Green, 
James Watson, and W. S. Eeynolds, a school 
the younger members of which, like Charles 
Turner, lived long enough to reproduce the por- 
traits of our Scottish Raeburn, and to take part 
in the 'Liber Studiorum' of Turner the painter, 
to which I shall presently refermore particularly. 
The last great mezzotints executed in our 
country were those reproducing the landscapes 
of Constable, issued by Lucas, an accomplished 
mezzotinter, about the middle of the century. 
The rolling sun-lit or storm-shadowed clouds 
of this painter, his dew-drenched meadows, his 
largely touched foliage, his broad spaces of 
sedgy stream, seem made for reproduction by 
this method; and Constable himself eagerly 
supervised the progress of each plate, and used 
to write his engraver in enthusiastic fashion, 
exclaiming : ' How I wish I had mastered the 
process, how I wish I could tear away on the 
metal like you ! ' 


Before quitting the subject of Mezzotint, I 
would like to say a very few words regarding 
the wonderful series of the ' Liber Studiorum,' 
executed by Turner and the engravers who 
aided him, in combined etching and mezzotint. 
Claude, a landscape painter, against whom 
Turner was continually measuring himself, was 
in the habit of making, for purposes of record 
and identification, sketches of his chief painted 
landscapes drawings in which the form was 
indicated by a pen line, and the light and 
shade added with the brush by a wash of sepia. 
These were engraved by Earlom in the end of 
the last century, from the originals in the 
Duke of Devonshire's collections, the pen line 
being imitated by etching, and the brush wash 
by mezzotint. It was in rivalry with this 
series that Turner published from 1807 to 
1819 his great 'Liber Studiorum' plates. In 
the preparation of these he first made a washed 
sepia drawing of each subject, and then etched, 
rather deeply by the ordinary method already 
described, the main lines upon a copper plate. 
This was usually done with his own hand, and 
a few copies of this etched state of the plate 
were printed, and form the best examples of a 
direct, powerful, and selective use of the line 
in landscape subjects that could possibly be 



presented to the student. The plate was then 
prepared with the ' rocker,' and the mezzotint 
light and shade added, sometimes by Turner 
himself, more commonly, under his close 
personal supervision, by the professional en- 
gravers whom he employed. The result was a 
series, executed in combined mezzotint and 
etching, of the most remarkable landscape 
engravings ever produced, which show the 
wonderful range and variety of the master's 
art, and form an imperishable monument of 
his genius. 

And now, in ending, permit me very briefly 
to recapitulate what I have said regarding the 
technical methods, and consequent artistic 
capabilities of the four great processes of 
Metal Engraving. 

1. LINE ENGRAVING. Produced by push- 
ing a cutting instrument along a bare plate of 
polished metal. Its qualities deliberate finish 
and quietly calculated precision. Its most fit- 
ting application the translation into black and 
white of pictures by the great masters whose 
effect depends mainly upon excellence of form. 

2. ETCHING. Produced by drawing lightly 
with a point through a thin film of varnish 
covering a metal plate. Its qualities the 


greatest possible freedom, variety, and spirit 
of line. Its most fitting application fresh and 
sensitive work, done directly from nature, and 
preserving the charm of an instinctive sketch. 

3. DRY-POINT. Produced by scratching a 
line and tearing up a ridge upon the bare 
metal. Its qualities sharp opposition of lights 
and darks, when used with the 'bur,' very 
delicate, but not free lining when used with 
the ' bur ' removed. Its most fitting application 
vivid transcript of nature in such subjects 
as depend for effect on sharp and brilliant 
oppositions of light and shade. 

4. MEZZOTINT. Produced by gradually 
smoothing a plate of roughened metal, work- 
ing from dark to light. Its qualities perfect 
gradation from deepest shadow to most telling 
light. Its most fitting application the transla- 
tion into black and white of the works of 
the great masters which depend for their 
effect upon powerful and telling chiaroscuro. 

If you keep these few brief dicta in your 
memory, and employ them to test the various 
prints that are submitted to you, they will 
add a new interest to your examination of a 
portfolio of engravings. 


SPECIALLY delightful is it to find a gay and 
lightsome spirit in the aged. We know 
some old people in whose company it is a very 
pleasure to be, who give in their very selves 
one of the best arguments we know for man's 
immortality because they are really growing 
younger and younger as the years roll on, and 
are gathering to themselves more and more all 
that is best of childhood. 

It is right that we should cultivate in our- 
selves an appreciation for little things and an 
enjoyment in them. It is wise that we should 
do so, for great occasions of good fortune come 
seldom, but little ones come to us day by 
day and sustain and cheer us like daily bread. 
Prosperity seldom comes upon a man suddenly 
and in full volume, like a mighty rushing wind ; 
and when it so comes, it disquiets and per- 
turbs more than strengthens him, but little 
occasions come like the gentle ' piping winds ' 


of spring, gentle and subtle, a breath of life to 
all. One man will derive more pleasure from 
a walk among budding trees than another does 
from owning the forest. One man will derive 
more gratification from the glimpse which he 
catches of a photograph in a shop-window, 
than another gets from his galleries of paint- 
ings. The thing required is the heart to feel 
the inner beauty, the ear to hear the inner 
harmonies, the eye to see the rhythmic dance 
of all things ; and if we keep our natures 
finely trained and ever on the watch, a very 
slight occasion will cause us to vibrate with 
far more delicious harmony than a much 
greater cause would do on a less delicately 
strung nature. 



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